The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed to the Maharashtra government that mentally challenged students in shelter homes should be allowed to study till the age of 18 years. The court further directed the Principal Secretary, Child Welfare department to promptly formulate a scheme for education of such mentally challenged students.
Remember, there is a Government of India ‘s scheme called Sarva Shikshan Abhiyan (SSA) in partnership with State Governments to provide free elementary education to the children in the age group 6-14 years as a fundamental right.
The High Court was acting on a suo motu (on its own) public interest litigation (PIL). An NGO Amicus Curaie’s (friend of the court) Asha Vajpayee, pointed out that under Right to Education (RTE) Act, only children under the age group of 6-14 years are allowed to study under the SSA scheme. Vajpayee told court that under ‘Persons With Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act’, students are allowed to study till they attain 18 years.
The Bombay High Court bench of Justice V M Kanade and P D Kode also directed government to release the pending grants to such Centres within four weeks. The bench further directed the Principal Secretary, Child Welfare department to promptly formulate a scheme for education of such mentally challenged children above the age of 18 years.
The court too directed the Maharashtra government to pay compensation to victims of Panvel shelter home. In this regard, the bench asked the Government to seek instructions and file an ‘Action Taken Report’ after a month.