Uttar Pradesh stopped from scrapping free education for all poor


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Monday disallowed the Uttar Pradesh government from withdrawing the provision of free education beyond class 10 from poor general and backward category students in the state while retaining it for Dalit and tribal students.

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A bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice B.S. Reddy dismissed the Mayawati government’s lawsuit challenging an Allahabad High Court order that suspended the government’s May 2008 executive order, withdrawing free educational facilities to the poor general and backward category students beyond class 10.

The state government had sought the apex court permission to scrap free educational facilities for non-dalit students in the state though it is allocating a whopping Rs.26 billion to build memorials to Chief Minister Mayawati and her political mentor Kanshi Ram, for which it was castigated twice by the apex court last week.

The high court has suspended the state government decision’s to withdraw free educational facilities for non-dalit students, saying that it cannot do so when the government has already got budgetary allocation for the purpose and part of the scheme was being funded by the central government.

As per a 2006 scheme of the state government, all poor students whose parents’ annual income was less than Rs.100,000, irrespective of their caste, were entitled to free educational facilities in the state beyond class 10, including access to various private professional colleges like those of engineering, medical and management.

For the scheme, the state government had a budgetary allocation of Rs.2 billion for both 2007 and 2008. Yet it went on to withdraw the facility for the non-Dalit students after forming a panel to examine the matter.

However, the Allahabad High Court suspended this order on a lawsuit by Meydha, a civil society group dedicated to the objective of equality in education.