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Delhi HC reserves order on PIL alleging denial of benefits to Afghan refugee students

The Delhi High Court has reserved its order on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) claiming that Afghan refugee students studying in the municipal corporation-run primary schools are being deprived of statutory monetary benefits due to the non-opening of their bank accounts.

New Delhi, Jan 13,2024:  The Delhi High Court has reserved its order on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) claiming that Afghan refugee students studying in the municipal corporation-run primary schools are being deprived of statutory monetary benefits due to the non-opening of their bank accounts.

A bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora reserved the order after the parties concluded their submissions.

The petition, filed by NGO Social Jurist, alleges that the actions of the authorities in depriving Afghan refugee students of statutory benefits are arbitrary and discriminatory, violating their fundamental right to education as guaranteed under the Constitution, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, and Delhi Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules.

According to the Delhi Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, all students in Delhi government and MCD-run schools are entitled to free textbooks, writing materials, and uniforms.

Instead of providing these items, the authorities transfer money to the students’ bank accounts.

The petition claimes that 46 Afghan students in the MCD school do not have bank accounts due to a lack of Know Your Customer (KYC) documents. Earluer, the court was informed that a representation was given to the authorities suggesting cash to the students if there are issues with opening or operating bank accounts.

However, no action has been taken, and the money owed to the students is still with the MCD school.

The petition urges the court to issue any appropriate writ, order or direction directing the respondents and more particularly to respondent MCD Primary School, Jangpura Extension to grant statutory benefits to 46 Afghanistan refugee students.

The court had issued notice to the MCD, MCD Primary School, Jangpura Extension and Indian Overseas Bank, Jangpura Branch on the petition.

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