Online Education: Relief Sought For Students Belonging To EWS Category

An NGO named Justice For All has filed a Public Interest Litigation in Delhi High Court. The NGO has filed the PIL in the interest of students belonging to the economically weaker sections of the society (EWS group); or the Disadvantaged Group (DG). The petitioner argues that such students are facing hardships in accessing online education. This includes accessing online study materials and lectures conducted via video conferencing.

The Petitioner’s case is that the Government has a duty to provide equal access to online education. To support the same, the petitioner cites section 3(2) and 7(c) of the Right to Education Act. The appropriate government is duty-bound to ensure that children belonging to the aforesaid categories are not discriminated against and prevented from completing elementary education. The Petitioner further cites section 7(d) of the Act which imposes duty to provide proper infrastructure and equipment.

Thus, the Petitioner urges the Court to direct the Delhi Government to provide free laptops/iPads and high-speed internet to students belonging to EWS and DG sections. Admittedly, the RTE Act does not specifically include laptops and iPads. However, the Petitioner argues that the extraordinary circumstances created by COVID-19 pandemic call for a wider interpretation of the provisions.