Patna: Over 600 madarsas across the state under the government scanner after the Patna high court asked the state government to complete the pending probe for utilisation of grant-in-aid. It has been alleged that the these madarsas have received the grant on by furnishing forged documents.
The additional chief secretary, education department, has been directed to submit a detailed report on the issue to the court within four weeks and suspend the grant until then.
A division bench of chief justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Patthar Sarthy on Tuesday directed the education department to file an affidavit within two weeks on “whether these educational institutions are fulfilling the criteria; have requisite infrastructure as stipulated under law and more specifically under the Madarsa Act and the regulations framed thereunder and the remedial action, if required, taken or not.”
The court has fixed February 14 as the next date for the hearing of the case. It also stated that there are over 2459 educational institutions recognised by Bihar’s madarsa board registered under the Madarsa Act in the state.
The state police chief has been asked to ensure that an investigation based on the FIR already registered is expedited and the latest status report is placed on record through an affidavit within two weeks.
“…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,” read the order.
However, the court asked the state government to ensure that no child shall suffer due to 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,” said the court.
The government has been providing grants to educational institutions since 2013. “It was only after the orders passed by the court that a fact-finding inquiry was initiated by the government by constituting a three-member committee on July 1, 2020, which, in turn, submitted its report on July 17, 2020, finding the letter leading to the grant of aid by the government to be forged. It recommended withdrawal of the same to 88 educational institutions confined only in one district-Sitamarhi and registering an FIR in this connection,” the court said.
The state government had last year set up a three-member committee to verify the status of 609 educational institutions, which receive grants-in-aid.
The court said the government was shying away from placing on record the result of the inquiry. “All it said was that reminders have been sent to the DMs (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 and that too in district Sitamarhi alone.”