The Supreme Court on Friday noted that the digital disparity, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has built up “stark consequences” as the right to education online was denied to children coming from the disadvantaged group (DG)/economically weaker section (EWS), as their households could not bear the expenses of computer-based equipment and internet for online method of teaching.

The apex court directed the govt. of Delhi to construct a project to aid children of EWS category and added that Union and State governments should come together and work out a reliable and permanent solution to make sure that the children are not devoid of education due to lack of resources.

Reportedly, a bench presided over by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that the Delhi government must come up with a plan to uphold the salutary objective of the RTE act, 2005. Also, the union govt. should coordinate with state governments and share concurrent responsibilities for funding.

The needs of the younger generation who are the future of the country cannot be ignored, it said.

The bench accentuated that the digital divide produced stark consequences as institutions switched to virtual medium due to the pandemic and that EWS/DG children may have to suffer the consequences by not being able to pursue education, and in the worst case, they may even drop out, due to lack of resources and access to online education.

It also commended the Delhi High Court verdict ordering the Delhi government to supply computer-based equipment and internet packages, pro bono to EWS children in private and government institutions.

The court was hearing a plea by Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools in consensus with the access to technology by children who are attending online classes and funding needed for the same.

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