The Legal perspective

Further to the fact-finding exercise, an eminent lawyer-parent who are part of the parent community wrote an open letter to Mr. Pranjal Jauhar:

KEY POINTS

1.                   Proposed Engineering College would mean CLOSURE of Mirambika.

2.                  Land use is not an issue. 

3.                  Existing Teachers Education Institute can co-exists with School as per law.

4.                  The actions already on, which are well thought and intentional,  posing a great threat to continuation of Mirambika.

5.                  There is no threat of closure from any regulator at present.

6.                  Societies with identical land use allotment, as that of ours,  are running in Schools Delhi, without any legal implications.

7.                  RTE is a fundamental Right. It cannot be violated without any real reason.

8.                 Sri Aurobindo Education Society has never received any show cause after allotment for violating land use clause.     

9.     Regulator & compliance authorities recognized Teachers Education Institute and School after having satisfied with documents & requirements of land use.

10.              DOE has placed Mirambika Free Progress School in the list of Schools, which has been allotted concessional land.

11.               Mirambika was subjected to DOE directives and it is following them.

12.              Sri Aurobindo Education Society by filing Writ Petitions represented that it is running school called Mirambika Free Progress School.  

13.              School cannot be closed or shifted without due process of law.

14.              Constructions activities cannot be carried out while school is in progress.

15.               Sri Aurobindo Education Society has admitted Red Group without informing the grand plans thus they were deceived.

16.              Sri Aurobindo Education Society has kept all concerned in dark including the Regulators i.e. DOE. regarding proposed action. 

17.               Without taking DOE permission, reportedly AICTE approval is sought.

18.               Parents were misinformed. There were shift in stands. First it was B.Ed college for girls. Then it was Engineering College. First it was shifting of Mirambika and now the Closure is imminent.

19.              Mirambika building is a magnificent piece of Architecture and thus needs preservation & protection.

20.             There is an calculated attempt to show decrease in enrolment either in Teachers Training College and Mirambika. (Red Group of 2015-16 is an example)  

21.               The Young man in unusual hurry creates suspicion. 

Dear Pranjal Bhaiya,

The recent development in Mirambika and your keen interest in shifting/ replacing Mirambika Free Progress School reportedly by an Engineering and Technical Institution left hundreds of parents including us in a deep anguish, grief and despair.

Though the hectic demolition activities began a month ago but , purpose and intent of the large scale demolition was remained shrouded in secrecy. However, the inevitable happened, just prior to Thanksgiving, which is a very solemn occasion in Mirambika. Various shades of  thoughts were exchanged. Anxious parents, silent diyas and over enthusiastic management all were groping in dark for a direction. The anxiety was only to know the future. The writings were writ large on the walls of Mirambika. The management of Sri Aurobindo Education Society led by a dynamic sadhak and supported by a host of other well placed individuals have already planned an alternative future for Mirambika.

Bhaiya, you are a very dynamic numbersmith and your ability as an able educationalist, who combines spirituality with education needs no mention. However, the herculean speed by which you have decided to implement your plan to save Mirambika has left us gasping. While you proclaim to rescue Mirambika, your actions would actually result in closing Mirambika. The remedy is worse than the disease and this is what bothers us immensely.

From the discussion it has emanated that while allotting the institutional land in the year 1984, the Delhi Development Authority prescribed the land use as College. The records available in public domain does indicate that the allotted land is to be used for College. 

In its wisdom the then managing committee of Sri Aurobindo Education Society, started a Teacher Training College along with Mirambika Free Progress School.

In our opinion and in the opinion of the concerned authorities this was a sufficient and required compliance of the terms and conditions of the allotment of land and all concerned authorities accepted this position.

Directorate of Education (DOE) recognized Mirambika Free Progress School. DOE used to endorse the school leaving certificate. It is sufficient to indicate that the concerned government department recognized the school. This fact assumes importance, as DOE is well aware that Mirambika has been upgraded to Class IX and X and National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has also recognized the institution.

The Teachers Training College has also been noticed and recognized by the concerned department and this college was also regarded as one of the constituent colleges imparting teacher’s training in state of Delhi.  

Thus, both College and Mirambika Free Progress School recognized by concerned regulators peacefully existed for last three decades.

In fact NCERT [the premier education body of the country] duly recognized the contribution of the College and Mirambika Free Progress School in process of schooling in India. 

Therefore, the perceived mystical threat, which is in our opinion, has been artificially engineered, meticulously planned and propagated by the management, led by you is absolutely baseless and only an attempt to close down so-called unprofitable Teacher’s Training College and burdensome Mirambika Free Progress School. We are very pained to say that these epithets are used by the management in various point of times to express their displeasure and disinterest in un-economical venture called Mirambika.

It is really a matter of concern that after demise of revered Anil Jauhar and consequent change in some key position in the management, the feeling of unviable commercial venture standing on prime land ad measuring 9.8 acres in heart of Delhi caught fancy of enterprising eyes of master of numbers.

We would like to invite your attention that the mere mention of word ‘College’ in a lease document indicating the land use is not of much significance. The land has been allotted under the Nazul Land Rules, 1981 which does not specify College as one of the purpose of allotment.

Since the higher or technical education institutions are a separate category under the Nazul Land Rules 1981, no Engineering College and Technical institute can be opened or operated legally on the land which has been allotted for the purpose of College. In fact, by opening Engineering College, the management is violating the essential terms of the allotment of land and there is likelihood that upon doing so that DDA will resume the land and ultimately neither Engineering College nor Teacher Training College nor Mirambika would be there. 

This would be a disastrous situation. Pranjal Bhaiya, this can be easily avoided, if you apply your incisive insight and cool mind and channelize your divine energies somewhere else rather than demolishing two institutions, which has been built up by thousands of Diyas, parents and children over last more than three decades with their faith, love affection and dedication. Selfless Diyas has given their sweat and blood to this institution. This cannot be easily taken away by an imaginary threat. Bhaiya, we hope that divine will manifest within you to understand that the perception of threat is a man-made and a bye product of over enthusiastic market driven thinkers.

Assuming that the threat is genuine and real and Mirambika Free Progress School is threatened by regulatory agencies to close down, we all are with you. We are ready and willing to take all steps either in law or otherwise to save the institution and thereby saving a precious piece of land which has been made into oasis by selfless, faceless and egoless diyas, parents and children.

Bhaiya, you may be aware that Right to Education has been conferred status of Fundamental Right and so is the right of the children to receive education and continue to receive the same education at the place of their choice. Your actions, which has manifested so crudely in last one week, are directly infringing the Fundamental Right guaranteed by the Constitution of India. We hope, that as an enlightened citizen of India you are aware that Constitutional Courts in India would zealously guard this right of our children.

There is no reported show cause notice from any regulatory agencies. Therefore, the hurried actions and unwarranted reactions together with your constant vigil on the spot make the entire exercise more than transparent. The actions are opaque and the motives are oblique. Through this open letter, we request you with folded hands, to immediately restrain yourself from going ahead with so-called preparation for saving Mirambika by converting it into an Engineering College.

That the opening and the closing of a school has a legal process and legal consequences. The then management had followed all regulatory and compliance formalities from time to time in order to comply with requirement of Delhi School Education Act,1973  and also to comply with the conditions of the allotment letter.

This is pertinent to mention that Mirambika has been directed by the DOE to comply with the directions with regard to admission in EWS category, fixation of fee and the admission procedure directed by the Delhi High Court by various judgments. Mirambika has followed those directives in order to save the land.

In fact, the Sri Aurobindo Education Society filed three writ petitions challenging the method of levying property tax on school.

It clearly establishes that the management as well as the regulator was fully conscious and aware that Mirambika Free Progress School is being operated from the present site for last 30 years, whose land use has been classified as College. It is a matter of record that the DOE in its circular clearly mentioned that Mirambika Free Progress School is being run on the land allotted by the government agency on the concessional rate.

If regulatory and compliance authorities are satisfied with the running of the school from the allotted land, then the divine perception of threat received by you Bhaiya is clearly imaginary.

We would like to emphasize that since the land has been allotted and used by the purpose of Teacher Training College and Mirambika Free Progress School, both duly recognized by the concerned authorities, opening of an Engineering College would amount to violation of the allotment letter. This would be a sole responsibility of the management and may attract a punishable criminal liability if by knowing the implications of the violation; management still decides to go ahead with that.

It is a well settled position that a technical institution like an Engineering College or any other such technical institution cannot exist in the same premises with a school. However, a non-technical College can function along with the school in the same premises. This is what was being done by the management till an imaginary threat perception was perceived.

The threat perception is a real for Mirambika because Mirambika would certainly be closed moment a technical institute comes up on the allotted land. This is what the management goal seems to be. And this all is being done in the name of saving Mirambika!   

We request, the Managing Committee of Sri Aurobindo Education Society, and especially you Pranjal Bhaiya to immediately stop all the activities of alteration and constructions in the existing Mirambika campus, remove  all the fixtures, furniture’s , machines  etc.  and   restore the campus to its originality, until we reach on a consensual clarity.

If you deem it appropriate, initiate a dialogue with the Mirambikan community to find out means and ways to save Mirambika, if needed.

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