By Ashok Agarwal, Advocate & Social Activist
Maharashtra Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011 which has come into force from 11 October 2011 in Section 2 (r) has defined "Uniform" means a dress decided by the concerned school committee with due consideration to the expected norms of behavior and discipline, to be worn by students of the school. Such a definition of "Uniform" in the Rules, in my humble submission, is open to be exploited by communal minded element in the school committee.
Mail Today, New Delhi, November 10, 2011 has reported that a preposterous correlation between Jeans and rape cases has prompted some community leaders to advocate a regressive dress code for girls in Muzzaffarnagar district of U.P. The suggestion comes close on the heels of similar curbs that were slapped by a village khap in the district. The Brahmin Samaj of Muzaffarnagar believes that jeans must not be worn by girls. Over 50 members of the community held a meeting in the Fogana area on Tuesday evening and concluded that rape cases were on the rise because of this sartorial preference of the fairer sex.
It is submitted that Article 51-A of the Constitution of India which deals with Fundamental Duties of Citizens amongst others talks of developing the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform. Section 29 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which deals with Curriculum and Evaluation Procedure amongst others talks of making the child free of fear, trauma and anxiety and helping the child to express views freely. It is therefore, submitted that the definition of "Uniform" given in the Maharashtra RTE Rules, 2011 goes against the letters and spirit of the Constitution and the RTE Act, 2009.
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