Delhi HC to pronounce order on nursery admissions on Tuesday

Delhi HC to pronounce order on nursery admissions on Tuesday

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court will on Tuesday pronounce its judgement on petitions filed by two school bodies and a couple of parents to challenge circulars on guidelines for nursery admissions in the national capital for the 2017-18 academic session.

The notifications by the Department of Education have made “distance” the primary criterion for admission of tiny tots.

Justice Manmohan will deliver the order on February 14 as the court has concluded hearing of arguments from counsels of the Delhi government and the petitioners.

The Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education along with a few parents had approached the court against the Delhi government’s notifications dated December 19, 2016, and January 7 that restricted 298 private schools built on public land to admit toddlers only by using the neighbourhood or distance criterion.

One of the major problems these 298 private schools, which are built on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land, face due to new guidelines is that they can no longer deny admission to any student from their neighbourhood who seeks admission.

The government’s January 7 notification said these private schools “cannot refuse admission to the residents of the locality” and have to fill 75 per cent of their student seats. The remaining 25 per cent seats are reserved for children whose parents’ annual income is less than Rs 1 lakh.

The notification accorded priority to students living within a radius of one km from school concerned. In case the seats remain vacant, those living within a distance of 3 km will get the chance for admission.

There are 1,400 private unaided schools in the capital, of which 298 are built on land allotted by the DDA.

The schools’ associations claimed the notification saying it was “illegal, arbitrary, whimsical and unconstitutional”.

The Delhi government has defended its decision, saying that land allotment letters to the schools clearly and explicitly mention that the “lessee school had willingly accepted the terms of allotment and on the same very terms of allotment, the lessee has been enjoying the property since the time of allotment”.

Earlier, by an interim order, parents were allowed to fill up application forms for various schools based on the criteria set by the schools as well as the Delhi government.