Order to be enforceable from 2013-14 session itself

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a petition by a non-government organisation challenging the Union and Delhi governments’ notifications granting autonomy to unaided private schools to frame nursery admission criteria on the basis of categorisation of children.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Darmar Murugesan and Justice V. K. Jain reserved the judgment on conclusion of arguments by counsel for the petitioner, Social Jurist, the Union and Delhi governments and the Action Committee Unaided Private Schools, an organisation of the Capital’s private schools.

The Court has already made it clear that its decision on the petition seeking striking down of the two notifications would be enforceable from the 2013-14 session itself.

Following the grant of admissions to these schools, they have devised a points system on different parameters to admit kids to nursery.

Counsel for the petitioner argued that the points system was tilted in favour of the rich and would lead to denial of admissions to children of poor students, defeating the aim of the Right to Education Act.

He said the draw of lots mode for admission was class-neutral and had a fair amount of chances of children of deprived parents getting admissions.

The two notifications were also contrary to Section 13 of the Act which says there will be no screening process of either parents or kids and no child will be discriminated against, counsel for the petitioner said, adding that it provided that admissions would be taken by draw of lots and neighbourhood would be the only criterion.

The petitioner urged the Court to quash the two orders.

Counsel for the Action Committee Unaided Private Schools defended the liberty given to these schools to frame criteria for admissions, submitting that they should have the autonomy to choose students for admission. The Committee’s counsel further submitted that the Government should function only as a regulator and not get into the admission business directly.

Counsel for the Union Government sought time from the Court for making submission on whether the Right to Education Act applied to nursery admissions or not. He sought time when the Court questioned him on the applicability of the law on nursery admission as it deals with free education for children between six and 14 years old.

Counsel for the Delhi Government submitted that his client had only adopted and notified the Centre’s notification on nursery admissions.

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