Education activist upset after appointment with President cancelled

A right to education activist, Matin Mujawar, claims his appointment with President Pratibha Patil was cancelled at the last minute during her recent visit to the city. The activist, who is fighting for a fee regulation law, said he had sought prior permission to meet the President.

Turned away: Matin Mujawar says he and other activists were not allowed in at Raj Bhavan during President Patil’s visit even though he had an appointment. Pic/Lopamudra Sahoo

The activist wanted to request the President to give her consent for fee regulation. The consent has been pending for many months now. When a delegation led by Mujawar arrived to meet the President at Raj Bhavan, the officials there did not allow its members in. No suitable reason was given.

Mujawar said when he had got to know that Patil would be visiting the city, he had sought permission from the President’s office in Delhi to meet her. The appointment had then been granted, with the state government fixing the meeting.

“I went to Raj Bhavan at the appointed time and also checked whether my name had been listed in the state government’s list,” he said. “A day before the meet, we had also gone through police verification and completed all the necessary procedures for meeting the President. However, even after confirming that my name was there in the list, our delegation was stopped by the authorities and we were told that we could not meet President.”

He said the delegation wanted to meet Patil to request her to give her consent to the Fee Regulation Bill. “The bill has already been passed in both the houses of the state legislature and has been pending since the last eight months for the President’s consent,” Mujawar said.

The bill was passed in August last year. It aims to curb the commercialisation of education and profiteering by educational institutions. The bill will become an act only after the President’s consent. Repeated attempts to contact Archana Dutta, Officer on Special Duty to the President, for comments on the issue proved futile. She also did not reply to messages sent to her.  

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