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Military schools debar disabled children

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: A Public Interest Litigation (P.I.L.) has been filed in the Delhi High Court against the discriminatory advertisements for admission into military schools run by the Government of India, which debar disabled children from taking part in the admission process.

The Rashtriya Military Schools of India invited applications for admission to class VI for academic session 2010-2012 in their schools located in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Their advertisement blatantly states, “Only those found medically fit will be offered admission,” making it clear that the Military schools do not at all permit children with disabilities to take benefit of education in their schools.

“The advertisement is arbitrary, unjust, discriminatory and unconstitutional,” said Ashok Agarwal, Advocate, appearing for the petitioner. The advertisement violates the fundamental right to education of children with disabilities as guaranteed to them under Article 14 (right to equality), Article 21 (right to life and dignity), Article 21-A (right to education) and Article 38 (right to social justice) of the Constitution of India and is contrary to the provisions laid down in the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 and U.N.C.R.P.D., he added.

The schools fall under the ambit of the Ministry of Defense and the Directorate General of Military Training. The Delhi High Court has served notices to the respondents asking them to file a reply to the P.I.L. The petitioners are seeking direction against the Indian Army to withdraw the advertisement and to issue a fresh one entitling children with disabilities to also take part in the admission process.