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Delhi HC order to Bridge Digital divide

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Delhi HC order to Bridge Digital divide:


Delhi high court has ordered schools (Both Private and Government) to provide gadgets and internet access to students from economically weaker section (EWS) and disadvantaged groups (DG) categories to assist in their online education during the Covid-19 crisis.

What’s the issue?

The court passed the order over concerns that these EWS category students were unable to sustain their online studies due to a lack of resources and unavailability of laptops and mobile phones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why such measures are necessary? Observations made by the High Court:

  • To address discrimination: All students do not have access to such facilities. The intra-class discrimination, upsets the level playing field and amounts to discrimination as well as creates a vertical division, digital divide or digital gap or digital apartheid in addition to segregation in a classroom which is violative of RTE, 2009, and Articles 14, 20 and 21 of the Constitution.
  • A financial barrier: Such mode of teaching will erect a financial barrier for EWS/DG category students by not providing the required equipment, preventing them from pursuing their elementary education.

What next?

The Court has made it clear that the private unaided schools will be entitled to claim reimbursement of reasonable cost for procurement of the gadget and Internet package from the government under Section 12(2) of the RTE Act.

About the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009:

The RTE Act aims to provide primary education to all children aged 6 to 14 years.

It enforces Education as a Fundamental Right (Article 21).

  • The act mandates 25% reservation for disadvantaged sections of the society.
  • It also makes provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class.
  • It also states that sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments.
  • It also provides for prohibition of deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than decennial census, elections to local authority, state legislatures and parliament, and disaster relief.
  • It had a clause for “No Detention Policy” which has been removed under The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Act, 2019.

It lays down the norms and standards related to:

  • Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs).
  • Buildings and infrastructure.
  • School-working days.
  • Teacher-working hours.


Prelims Link:

  1. Rights Under Article 21.
  2. Overview of Articles 14 and 20.
  3. Key features of RTE Act.
  4. Amendments to RTE Act.

Mains Link:

Discuss the key features of RTE Act.

Sources: the Hindu.