What happened in the Court and outside today?

The issue before the Court is whether the sudden shift of Mirambika by SAES on 14/4 without School Management Committee approval, without DOE approval, without consultation with parents, without providing comparable space, etc is legal?

Counsel for the 36 parent petitioners, Gopal Shankarnarayan, hammered last nails into the coffin containing Pranjal Jauhar’s arguments on behalf of SAES. The legality of the new building and the land on which it is situate was called into question. The judge listened with rapt attention and nodded in approval. The next date of hearing is Oct 6th.

A parent who attended the hearing gave the following report:

“Today Gopal Sankaranarayanan concluded his arguments, and with with that the parent petitioners have rested their case. (Kanika Agnihotri wrapped up her arguments last week.)

Gopal did so with style, confidence and verve. Justice Endlaw was attentive and engaged throughout Gopal’s 50-minute presentation.

Gopal took the judge on a tour of our case’s highlights: The right to life and right to education supersede the right of an entity to run its business; that the court had a duty to act on our behalf, and that there existed a precedence for it to do so; that the burden of proof that the shift was legal lay upon the respondents; the fact that the new building has no fire clearance, let alone a single clearance of any kind; that SAES did not own the land on which the school is now located; that the children and the diyas — the most valuable part of the institution — were suffering only because of the will of one man; that a teachers training institute and an autonomous school go hand in hand and meet the college requirement; that there were numerous misrepresentations to government authorities including the AICTE, DoE; and that the school should not closed by the dictatorial act of one man.

It was nothing less than a tour de force.”

Arguments of Pranjal Jauhar led SAES:

Mirambika is a failed experiment. (This is not in issue before the judge. However, it means that the Pondicherry ashram school on which Mirambika is modeled and the Kechla school which emulates Mirambika are both failed experiments. Also, SAES claimimg 34 year old Mirambika to be a failed experiment cannot definitely lay any claim possess any capacity to set up a successful engineering college.)

Mirambika is a school for children with special needs. (This is not in issue before the judge. Special needs children in India is understood to cover physically and or mentally differently-abled children. None of the Mirambika children are differently-abled. Even a school for children with special needs can only be dealt in accordance with law.)

Mirambika is an elitist school. (This is not in issue before the judge. Most Mirambika children are from middle class background and some are from economically weaker sections – both these classes have equal right to education for their children. Even the elite have an equal right to education for their children.)

Between this Ganesh Chaturthi  & Dussehra, may the Mother Ambika slay the demons of ego & greed nurtured into dominance in Pranjal Jauhar’s heart by the “DDA Angel” and his other courtiers.

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