Patna, Jan 25 (PTI) The Patna High Court has asked the Bihar government to complete within four weeks its ongoing inquiry into the release of grant-in-aid to 609 madarsas allegedly on the basis of forged documents and hold the funds to these registered institutions till then.
A division bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Partha Sarthy, while hearing a petition by Md Alauddin Bismil, rebuked the government stating, “The government is shying away from placing on record the result of the inquiry. All it said was that reminders have been sent to the district magistrates.” “This is no explanation for not getting the inquiry 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, registered under the Madarsa Act, and that too in Sitamarhi district alone,” the bench said on Tuesday.
The education department had last year constituted committees to verify the status of 609 educational institutions, which get grants-in-aid.
“The department shall forthwith convene a meeting of all the chairmen of the three-member committees constituted vide communication dated 17.09.2021, with a further direction to ensure completion of enquiry on expeditious basis and not later than four weeks.
“Till such time individual enquiry with respect to entitlement and compliance of statutory provisions of law and government resolutions is not concluded, the amount by way of grants-in-aid shall not be released in favour of 609 educational institutions,” the order stated.
The court also directed the state police chief to ensure that an investigation related to a First Information Report already registered is expedited and the latest status report is placed on record through an affidavit within two weeks.
The bench further said, “We may also remind the government, as is so alleged by the petitioner, that, perhaps, a detailed enquiry needs to be conducted by a high level committee for there are more than 2,459 educational institutions which are registered under the Bihar State Madarsa Education Board Act, 1981.” The bench directed the additional chief secretary of the education department to file a personal affidavit within two weeks indicating whether these educational institutions are fulfilling the criteria, have requisite infrastructure as stipulated under law and more specifically under the Madarsa Act and whether the regulations framed thereunder and the remedial action, if required, were taken or not.
“The pendency of the present petition shall not come in the way of the authorities taking appropriate action in accordance with law, be it of cancelling the registration of the educational institutions; stopping the grant and/or initiating disciplinary proceedings against erring officials,” the order stated.
However, the high court also asked the government to ensure that no child suffers as a result of the closure of such educational institutions, be it on account of non-release of grants-in-aid or non-compliance to the statutory provisions.
“Every child up to a particular age has a constitutional and statutory right of being educated. The government has been releasing funds to educational institutions since 2013,” it stated. PTI PKD ACD ACD