The Patna High Court has directed the Bihar Government to complete, within four weeks, its ongoing inquiry into the release of grant-in-aid to 609 madrasas which was allegedly based on forged documents, and, also to withhold the funds to these registered institutions till then.

The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Partha Sarthy said that “the Government, be it for whatever reason, is shying away from placing on record the result of enquiry conducted by these committees.” and all it said was that reminders had been sent to the District Magistrates.

The Bench further said that “this is no explanation for not getting the enquiry completed within a time-bound period, more so when the Government itself, way back in the year 2020 cancelled the grant in relation to at least 88 educational institutions and that too in district Sitamarhi alone.”

In 2013, based on a forged communication, certain educational institutions falling within the ambit and scope of Section 2(c) of the Bihar State Madarsa Education Board Act, 1981 (the Act) were granted financial aid in terms of the Government Resolution dated November 29, 1980. The petitioner approached the High Court, invited the attention of the Court with respect to the forged letter, and sought directions from the Court.

By order of the High Court, a fact-finding enquiry was initiated by the Government by constituting a committee of three members which submitted its report, in 2020, finding the letter leading to the grant of aid by the Government, to be forged and further recommended withdrawal of grants qua 88 educational institutions of Sitamarhi District.

Subsequently, another three-member committee was formed to verify the status of 609 educational institutions situated in other districts of Bihar, which were in receipt of grants-in-aid in terms of and under the resolutions passed by the State.

Advocate Rashid Izhar appeared for the petitioner, AAG Shashi Shekhar Tiwary appeared for the respondent, and Advocate Md. Aslam Ansari appeared for the respondent- Madarsas Board.

The Court noted that FIR was registered about the forged letter and further questioned as to why no action was taken against the erring officers/officials who, without verifying the factual matrix allowed public money to be released by way of grant to at least 88 such educational institutions.

The Court further directed to ensure that with the closure of any institution, education of the children was not affected and that they were admitted in any government or other educational institution closer to the place of residence of the child as “Every child upto a particular age has a constitutional and statutory right of being educated.”

And also, directed the Additional Chief Secretary of the Education Department to file his personal affidavit, within two weeks, indicating whether these educational institutions were fulfilling the criteria; had requisite infrastructure as stipulated under law and more specifically under the Madarsa Act and the regulations framed thereunder and the remedial action, if required, taken or not.

Therefore, the Court directed to complete the inquiry within four weeks and to hold the funds of grant-in-aid.

Accordingly, the matter was listed for further hearing on February 14, 2023.

Cause Title- Md. Alauddin Bismil v. The State of Bihar and Ors

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