Delhi High Court refuses stay; says matter requires detailed hearing

The Delhi High Court on Friday declined to stay the new guidelines for admissions to nursery classes in the Capital saying the matter required a detailed hearing.

The Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools, an association of Capital’s private unaided school managements, had challenged the guidelines issued by Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung.

Refusing to stay the guidelines, Justice Manmohan issued notices to the Union and the Delhi Governments, and the Directorate of Education seeking their replies to the petition by March 11, the next date of hearing.

According to the guidelines, admissions to nursery classes will be given on the basis of only four criteria — “neighbourhood up to 8 km, sibling studying in the school, parent alumni in the school and inter-transfer case.”

Children and grandchildren of staff members will also be entitled to a five per cent quota in admissions under the new guidelines.

The petitioner has sought setting aside the guidelines arguing that the Lieutenant-Governor’s Office does not have the power to frame them.

Counsel for the private school managements argued that the guidelines were against the principle of autonomy. These schools were given the power by the Union Government to formulate their own admission criteria for 75 per cent of the seats, they said, adding that the water-tight criteria and the specific weightage prescribed to each are “ludicrous,” and “arbitrary”.

They also accused Lieutenant-Governor’s Office of ignoring the opinion of respected educationists while framing the guidelines. The admission process for this class will begin from January 15. The last date for submission of applications is January 31.

The neighbourhood criterion has been given the maximum weightage of 70 points out of 100 points in the open category seats. The management quota has been abolished under the new guidelines. The total number of seats for admissions to a class for children below six years will be divided into four parts. Twenty-five per cent of the seats have to be reserved for the economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups and five per cent for the wards and grandchildren of the staff/ employees of the school. The unfilled seats will spill over to open seats. Five per cent will be for the girls’ quota, which will have to be divided according to a draw of lots. In the event that seats remain vacant or unfilled through these quotas, then they can be allotted based on the draw of lots.

More In: Delhi