The Delhi government on Wednesday informed the High Court that it has prescribed only NCERT and SCERT textbooks for students studying in its schools so that the “children may be restrained from burdening to read unnecessary study material and references”.
Justice C Hari Shankar was informed that the two bodies are the academic authorities empowered by the Right to Education Act (RTE) to decide the curriculum for the students and that the Delhi government has decided to follow its guidelines.
The reply stated that publishers and vendors inside the school shop/tuck shopkeepers cannot supplant and replace the Academic Authority to decide the school curriculum for child.
The submission were made on an affidavit given to the court while replying to a plea by plea filed by Federation of Educational Publishers in India challenging the circular of the Delhi government issued on November 28 that fixed the weight limit for the school bags.
The affidavit detailed that to promote equality it will be necessary to provide equal opportunity for all, not only in access but also in the conditions of success.
“Besides, awareness of the inherent equality of all will be created through the core curriculum. The purpose is to remove prejudices and complexes transmitted through the social environment and the accident of birth,” it said.
The city government also asserted that vendor’s or publishers cannot step into the shoes of the Academic Authority which is a statutory body. It said that the petition is not maintainable and liable to be dismissed.
The plea, filed through advocate Kumar Vaibhav and Aayushi Sharma, had contended that by prescribing a fixed weight of bags and instructing schools to follow NCERT, SCERT and CBSE books, the city government was trying to indirectly achieve a “compulsory enforcement” of NCERT books, which it is not allowed to do.
The petition also claimed that the circular is directing the use of a particular set of books, thereby violating of the bylaws of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
“By putting a cap on the weight of the bag and directing the schools to see that NCERT, SCERT and CBSE prescribed books are brought to the school, the Delhi government is taking the choice of the schools/students from following books of private publishers and is restricting the students to a single textbook,” it added.