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RE:Umesh's proposal on compulsion

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!

Dear Sanjeev, 

Thanks for the good and constructive questions. 

Let me try to work on them one by one (not just in the sense of
answering them, but trying to explain how I think the system is going to

On Compulsion

I definitely am against the use of the term "compulsion". I would prefer
to call it :

State's guarantee to a child's right to education.

Before I lay down the policy and enforcement framework, let me state the
assumptions I am working under :

1. There is a city council or village panchayat of locally elected ward
2. The city council or village panchayat has a clerk who, among other
things, is 
   entrusted with the task of doing some administrative work.

3. The city administration or village council has a city attorney, a law
   who ensures that laws are not broken by the legislators or the
citizens, and in
   cases where the law seems to have been compromised in the eyes of the
city attorney
   or any complainant citizen of the city, it is the job of the city
attorney to 
   interpret the law to the best satisfaction of the complainant or move
the court to 
   seek justice. 
4. Police is controlled to some extent by the city administration.
Police is used only
   to enforce law and order and they don't get involved in cases like
enforcement of 
   mandatory education unless in extreme cases, where city attorney
brings a case to 
   court, and the judiciary decides to award jail term or arrest of the

now the POLICY :

  A: Ensuring that every child gets enrolled in a school.

   1. The city or village clerk compares the birth record of every child
of school 
      going age and enrollment records of every school and brings out an
      report on the children that have for any reason not been given
what is supposed 
      to be their right, the enrollment in a school. 
      The clerk can be entrusted with the responsibility to ask the
parents to answer 
      within a reasonable time as to why their child did not get
enrolled in a school.

  2. Such an annual report must be presented to the city council, and
then the council
     decides on issues such as :
     (i) Non availability of the school infrastructure.
     (ii) Inability of a significant number of citizens to pay even the
minimum fee   
          (if any) for enrollment of their child into the school.
  3. For the unresolved cases, where the village clerk and the respected
ward member 
     make a determination that the parents are to be held legally
responsible for 
     denying their child his/her basic right to mandatory primary
education by failing 
     to enroll the child in a school, the cases are sent to the village
attorney for 
     further action. 

     (See at the end of part B for the proposed guidelines for the
attorney to work 

B: Ensuring that children do attend classes for the minimum % of school

 1. Every school that imparts primary education to the children in the
village, has 
    a parent-teacher council  that meets at regular intervals and any
and all issues
   related to individual students are discussed with their parents by a
student counsel 

 2. For extreme cases, where a student is found to miss classes
regularly for no 
    apparent and explainable reasons, medical, family hardship or any
other, and the 
    school administration has exhausted all avenues of trying to resolve
the situation 
    such as repeated sessions of the student with the student counsel,
    meetings with the parents, and in the best judgment of the school
    legal resort is the only option available, the cases could be
refereed to the 
    village attorney to act upon.

(If more then a reasonable percentage, say 5% of the cases end up on the
village attorney's desk, there are more severe problems in the system,
and in such a situation, the village council (the legislators) can
simultaneously start working towards addressing the systemic problems
wherever possible).

The Village Attorney on Enforcement:

 The village attorney may get two kind of cases :
  a. Cases related to the parents failing to enroll their children for
the primary 
     education, and nothing other then failing to carry out what is
their individual 
     responsibility, as determined by the village clerk and respective
ward member 
     (village council representative representing the parents locality),
is the reason.

     In cases like these, the city attorney should have very clear and
     guidelines :

     a. Summon the parents and give them one final chance to respond and
explain their
        situation before a legal action can be taken against them for
violating their
        child's right to education. 
     b. Failing to resolve the case in the individual session with the
parent(s), the 
        city attorney should move the court and ensure that justice is
done with the 
       The court may, in turn, use its discretion to :
       1. let go the parents with some instructions binding on them with
penalty as
          a crime of the contempt of the court punishable by
imprisonment, hanging
          over them, so that corrective action is taken without anyone
getting hurt.
       2. levy a fine for failing to do their duty.
       3. in extreme cases, award imprisonment and/or fine as

 b.  Unresolved cases forwarded by the school administration where the
     students were found to be failing to attend the school for no
justifiable reason, 
     and every attempt to resolve the case within the school has failed. 
     Again, the course of action for the city attorney is similar. First
the city 
     attorney summons the parents and explains to them the risks of
facing the legal 
     action if they still fail to resolve the situation. 

     The city attorney either closes the case by having the parents
comply with the law
     and ensure the child goes to school, or move the court.

Obviously, police and courts come into the picture only as a last
resort, and after all other options have failed, and the case has
already reached the village attorney. The law enforcement machinery or
courts are not intended to intimidate the citizens, but as insurers to
guarantee that freedom of one citizen is not hijacked by other citizens,
and remember, children are citizens too. 

Hope this answers most of your questions. 


Umesh Tiwari

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