In a unique case, three siblings have approached the Delhi High Court alleging that the Delhi government is not accepting a plot of land they want to donate to build a school. They are willing to transfer a piece of their private land measuring 5,000 square yards in Karawal Nagar, worth crores, to Delhi’s AAP govt led by party supremo Arvind Kejriwal, for building a senior secondary-level government school. Since 2012, the landowners have been asking the authorities to transfer the land ownership to the government for the purpose of building a government school on it, however, the authorities have been delaying. The siblings, who are the legal heir of the original landowner Mansa Ram, who died in 2009, approached the High Court to resolve the matter.
Now, based on a plea filed by the two sons and daughter of Mansa Ram, Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Delhi government to expeditiously take a decision on the family’s request for transfer of land to build a government school.
Justice Prathiba M Singh, while hearing the plea, described the petition as an unusual case and said that the petitioners have approached the court with a “unique prayer” where they wish to vest their private land with the government “for a social purpose”. He directed the Delhi government to take an “expeditious decision” in the matter. Justice Prathiba M Singh said since the petitioners have come up with a unique prayer where they wish to give their right in a private land to the government, the authorities shall consider the plea expeditiously.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal, representing the petitioners, informed the court that his clients had sent a request letter to the AAP government in Delhi in June 2019 to transfer ownership of the land from them to the State but unfortunately the authorities have done nothing, instead have been merely sitting over the matter for the last one and a half years.
Agarwal also informed the court that the land has ever since been lying vacant, because of which anti-social elements of the area have been misusing it. He said that the petitioners want to transfer ownership of the land unconditionally to the government requesting it to build a multi-storey senior secondary school there.
Request to the AAP government in this regard was last made in June 2019
In 1976, Mansa Ram had built Alok Punj Secondary School on 2,000 square yards of the land at Karawal Nagar. Since 1995, it had been running on 100% government grant. However, due to the bad condition of the building, the High Court in 2018 ordered moving students to some other building.
As per the petition filed by Mansa Ram’s children, since September 2018 there has been no activity on the land where the school is originally located, due to which it has been infested by anti-social elements.
In the petition the three siblings, Anup Singh, Satish Kumar and Anoopi said that the inaction of the government on their request for transfer of the land is affecting the education of thousands of students enrolled in the school and those who want to get admission in a government school.
A request to the government authorities in this regard was last made in June 2019.
Stating that there is an urgent need for a government school in the area as it is densely populated and a number of students want to urgently shift from private schools to government schools especially because their parents, owing to the pandemic, are unable to pay children school fees, the plea filed by the siblings requested prompt action in the matter.
Giving two weeks to the Kejriwal government to file an affidavit in the matter, the high court listed the matter for further hearing on April 30. The court also asked the Delhi Govt to reply regarding the request for renaming the school in the name of the original landowner, Mansa Ram.