Last week, Harshad Barde, a Pune-based activist, requested the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) to set up grievance cells across the state stating that it would help parents fight cases related to Right to Education (RTE) Act. Currently, the sole bench of the body works out of Mumbai and handles cases from across the state. “I filed a case with the commission in August 2013, and it came up for hearing only last month.
Parents and activists insist that more benches across the state will help speed up cases, especially those involving RTE. File Pic
There is a lack of grievance redressesal mechanism in the state and. We depend on the commission for justice, which is almost always delayed,” said Barde. He pointed out that the state is supposed to put in place a three-tier committee system. “A complaint is first supposed be heard at the level of the ward officer, followed by the municipal commissioner and then by the state education commissioner. Only after clearing these levels should a case go to MSCPCR. However, ground reality is that, till date, not a single committee has met for regular meetings,” he rued.
Parents such as Sangli resident Nandkishore D (name changed), agree. “Three years ago, my daughter and five other students from her school were asked to quit after studying there for two years. They were admitted under the RTE quota. We had no option but to approach the child rights commission as even the education officers were not very helpful,” he said. His case came up for hearing at the commission in Mumbai only last year and at the first two hearings he attended, school officials did not bother to show up. The case dragged on for three months. “By the time they showed up, my daughter had secured admission elsewhere,” he added.
“We do get cases from distant parts of the states but the numbers are few, so we prefer calling them to the Mumbai office. If the number of cases increases, the state government will appoint more members to form permanent benches,” said AN Tripathi, secretary MSCPCR.
He pointed out that the commission is currently working without a law and administration officer.