Paving the way for nursery admissions to start in the city, Delhi high court on Monday rejected a plea by an association of private unaided schools to stay the guidelines framed for the process by the lieutenant governor’s office.
The admission process now begins on January 21 and applications can be submitted till February 5.
HC said the new rules had not been opposed by parents “who appear to have welcomed the same” and said any interference will prove “detrimental” to the interests of children. It ordered Delhi government to immediately notify new dates of admission.
A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw concluded that the private schools had not been able to “satisfy” it that not granting a stay on the guidelines was harming these schools in any way.
“We are in agreement with the learned single judge (who had earlier refused to grant a stay) that any interference at this stage would create confusion and would be detrimental to the interests of children as well as parents of the wards who are seeking admission,” the bench added.
The petitioners — Action Committee for Unaided Recognized Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education for All — which represent almost all recognized private schools in Delhi, had moved the larger bench arguing that the new admission guidelines took away their autonomy.
Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung had on December 18, 2013, issued the admission guidelines that scrapped the 20% management quota of schools and gave as much as 70% weightage to children living in the neighborhood, that is, within 8km from the school. The bench, in its 32-page judgment, also rejected schools’ plea opposing the removal of the management quota.
“We have also enquired from the senior counsels for the appellants (schools) to how deprivation of admission through the management quota causes loss to the schools. The schools are not entitled to charge any capitation fee or any excess amount from students admitted through management quota. Though management quota has been recognized in several judgments but in relation to admission to professional courses, where merit is a criteria. It is not so here,” HC observed.
HC added that disrupted the process now would lead to confusion. “We are in agreement with the single judge that any interference at this stage would create confusion and would be detrimental to the interest of children as well as parents…”
The nursery admission process, which was to start from January 15, was put on hold after the government told the bench it “would wait for the court’s decision on the issue before commencing the admission process”.
HC clarified that for the larger issue on private schools’ autonomy, government interference and arbitrariness, the single judge would adjudicate. The private unaided schools had appealed against the single-judge order of Janaury 10 which denied any relief to them.
The schools had opposed the notification, saying it was against the Ganguly committee recommendations. “The Ganguly committee had said you cannot restrict people to one area. Giving 70 points out of 100 to neighbourhood is arbitrary,” said the schools in their plea. However, the government said, as per the Ganguly committee report, schools cannot have a screening process for admitting three to six-year-old children.
Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com Jan 21, 2014