February 7, 2017 5:51:27 am
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia has ordered the suspension of senior officials from the Directorate of Education (DOE) for filing a false affidavit in the Delhi High Court and asked that the affidavit be withdrawn. According to an order signed by Sisodia, DOE filed a false affidavit in the Delhi High Court which favoured Mirambika — Free Progress School (MFPS) management. The case dates back to 2015, when a group of parents approached the court after the management of Mirambika — an alternative learning school — shifted students from the building they were studying in to a hostel in Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The management said the move was necessary because the land on which the school building was made was, in fact, leased to the Sri Aurobindo Education Society to start a college. The DOE was asked to inspect the premises where the children were shifted, and was also asked to give its opinion in the case.
In the affidavit, DOE said that at the time of applying for recognition, the school was functioning from the ashram building and that they were satisfied with most of the arrangements in the ashram building. But according to officials at the education department, the affidavit was false.
“The Sri Aurobindo Education Society was granted 9.84 acres of land in 1984,” said a senior government official on condition of anonymity.
“It was primarily to start a college. Within a few months of getting the land, the society told the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) that they did not want to set up a traditional college on the premises and were interested in setting up the Mirambika Research Centre for Integral Education and Human Values. This was supposed to have a research wing, a teachers’ training wing, a nursery section, a library, and an auditorium. The DDA lease was signed after this communication,” said the official.
At the time of finalising the lease deed for the land, DDA was aware that a traditional college would not be built there.
“The Mirambika School was started in 1981 and the management wrote to DOE for recognition in 1988. The application for recognition clearly stated that the building from which the school was operating (the ashram) was temporary and the school will be shifted to a building (under construction at the time) on the 9.84 acres of land given by DDA. The school shifted to the new building on DDA land in December, 1988, and it was granted recognition in January, 1989. When the school applied for extension till Class X in 1991, it was running from the new building,” said the official.
In its affidavit, however, the DOE said, “Mirambika Free Progress School was functioning from the ashram building for which the recognition was granted in 1988. The school was shifted from the ashram to the new building when the society applied for the upgradation of the school upto 10th level which was granted by the Directorate of Education in 1993.”
This information, according to Sisodia and several officials, is untrue. The school management could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Sisodia, meanwhile, has also asked the directorate to conduct another physical and document inspection of the building and the land where the school is running by Tuesday and file a new affidavit with facts by Wednesday. The next date of hearing in the case is Thursday, February 9.
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