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Odisha HC notice to Centre on free mid-day meals, uniforms to private school students


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Sep 10:

The Odisha High Court has sought a reply from the Government of India on a petition demanding free supply of school uniforms and mid day meals to students in private schools as is being done in government-run schools.

High-CourtThe High Court Tuesday directed the Centre to present facts relating to its schemes for free school uniforms and mid day meals for school students in accordance with the provisions of Right to Education Act.

The High Court took up the matter after admitting a letter petition by Sunitarani Nahak as a public interest litigation (PIL).

A division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Amitava Roy and Justice Dr A K Rath on Tuesday served the notice to the Centre.

The Court also directed the state government to produce before it the Central government’s notification by virtue of which only students in government run schools were eligible for such benefits.

The letter petition filed in the High Court by Ms Nahak prayed for provision of such benefits in private schools.

The High Court appointed senior advocate Manoranjan Mohanty as the amicus curiae in the case.

Amicus Curiae Mohanty pointed out during the hearing on Tuesday that since uniforms and mid day meals were being provided under Central schemes and grants it should present its stand in the matter.

Similarly, it was also argued that because the state government had claimed in its reply that only students of government schools were eligible for such benefits as per directives of the Centre, the state government should produce Centre’s notification in the matter before the court.

While the court issued a notice to the Centre it also sought the Centre’s notification from the state government on the matter.