On Tuesday Delhi High court stayed Aam Aadmi Party’s new Nursery admission norms based on neighborhood criteria because government feel that the fate of child’s education can’t be relegated to only his/her position on map. Justice Manmohan said about these norms that they were “arbitrary and discriminatory”.
Delhi High court said on controversial nursery admission notification by AAP government that made 298 private unaided schools build on private lands to accept admission form only on the basis of neighbourhood or distance criteria. This petition was filed by parents and two school groups challenging Delhi government.
while staying the 7 January notification the court said the Directorate of Education of the government ” can’t do indirectly what it can’t do directly”. As Tuesday was the last date for filing the application forms.
According to justice Manmohan these notifications are arbitrary unreasonable against public interest, before ordering a stay on the application on private unaided schools for this season nursery admission process. Earlier court directed the private school to accept application on their own criteria. And the Tuesday’s order will give a free hand to all private school to admit toddlers based on their own criteria.
Justice Manmohan said,” state cannot impose any restrictions on choice of parents to choose school for their child, just because it is beneficial for their child.” Around 150,000 students vie for 125,000 seats every year but the admission process gets caught in last minute litigation as either schools or parents have to go to court every year. The court questioned the city government decision to impose the neighborhood restriction to only that school that are build on Delhi development authority land.
Justice remarked that primary cause of nursery admission chaos is the lack of good schools in the country’s capital as public interest can not confined to 298 schools. While this is not mandatory for other 1400 schools of nations capital.
The court’s order came on pleas by the action committee for recognized unaided private schools which comprises of more than 450 unaided private schools in Delhi. And the forums for promotion of quality education and parents challenging government’s notification.
On the government argument that its notification adhered to the Right to Education Act, the court reminded that Section 12(1) (c) of the act fixes the extent of responsibility of a private unaided school for admission from the neighborhood to only 25%, and that is same for the weaker sections, and leaving free the remaining 75% seats to be filled up by the school authorities with children living within or outside its neighborhood”.
According to this notification the priority is given to those who live within the radius of 1 Kilometer and in case if the seats remained vacant, those who are living within the radius of 3 Kilometers could get the chance. This process means that the school could no longer deny the admission to anyone from the neighborhood.
This was a potential of abuse of the condition of many rich people would either shift to that area which is close to the school or would get rent receipts from owner or relative or from friends. Justice Manmohan added that no mechanism to curb or examine the possibility of abuse was provided in the notification. High court observed that the government’s order can not be seen as a “reasonable restriction” on the fundamental right of schools and parents who want to admit their wards in school of their own choice.
Earlier high court stayed Delhi government’s nursery admission to make it compulsory for unaided minority private schools to admit students in unreserved category on the basis of these neighborhood criteria. And said admission norms on neighborhood policy were prima facie unconstitutional.
The Delhi government has defended its decision and said that a perusal of allotment letter clearly and explicitly shows that less number of schools had willingly accepted the term of allotment and on the same way very less number of them has been enjoying the property since time of allotment.
But this order gave relief to around 15 minority schools in Delhi that were set up on public land. The court by the means of an earlier order had allowed the parents to fill up the application forms for the various schools based on their own criteria that is set by them as well as by the Delhi government.