The Delhi High Court issued notice in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) highlighting the alleged withholding of financial entitlements guaranteed under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, from Afghan refugee students enrolled in MCD Primary School on the alleged ground of non-opening of Bank Account for these students.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula issued notice in the PIL and sought a response from the Municipal Corporation Department and other Respondents, and adjourned the matter to October 6, 2023.

In the PIL filed by Social Jurist, a civil rights group, represented by Advocates Ashok Agarwal and Kumar Utkarsh, it is submitted that among the 178 students attending the MCD School, 46 Afghan refugee students are being denied the mandatory financial benefits due to their non-opening of Bank Accounts.

Furthermore, it is submitted that the Afghanistan refugee students are not only being denied financial benefits but are also being deprived of essentials such as uniforms, scholarships, and more. The petitioner emphasizes that the funds rightfully belonging to Afghan students are currently lying with the authorities of the MCD school.

It was contended before the Court that if there were difficulties in opening bank accounts for these refugee students, an alternative solution could be to provide cash. However, no action has been taken to address this issue thus far, the lawyer argued. Agarwal also highlights that the 46 Afghan refugee students lack the necessary documentation to initiate the opening of bank accounts and their presence in India is contingent upon their refugee status, granted by UNHCR, along with their parents.

"Impugned action on part of respondents in depriving Afghanistan refugee students of Statutory benefits for not having bank account or operational bank accounts and giving statutory benefits to other students of the school are arbitrary, unjust, malafide, discriminatory, unethical, anti-child, violates fundamental right to education as guaranteed to them under Articles 14, 21 and 21-A of Constitution of India read with Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and also read with Delhi Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011", reads the PIL.

The petitioner has prayed that the Respondent authorities be directed to provide the statutory benefits to the 46 Afghan refugee students.

Cause Title: Social Jurist, A Civil Rights Group v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi & Ors.