“Section 13 of the Act governs admission for children between the age of 6 and 14 years in elementary education”

The Union Government on Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that the pre-schooling is not covered under the Right to Education (RTE) Act-2009.

In an affidavit filed on a direction by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Darmar Murugesan and Justice V. K. Jain to clarify whether the RTE is applicable to the nursery admission, the Government said: “Section 13 of the Act governs the admission for children between the age of 6 and 14 years in elementary education.”

“Further, the guidelines dated 23.11.2010 by the respondent 2 (Union Government) cover children between 6 and 14 years relating to admission in elementary education…” the affidavit stated.

“The State Governments may have their own policies governing admissions in pre-primary classes,” the affidavit said.

Section 13 of the Act says: “No capitation fee and screening procedure of admission. No school or person shall, while admitting a child, collect any capitation fee and subject the child or his or her parents or guardian to any other screening procedure.”

Autonomy granted

The Court has been hearing a petition by non-government organisation Social Jurist challenging the Union and the Delhi Governments’ notifications granting autonomy to unaided private schools to frame nursery admission criteria on the basis of categorisation of children.

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

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

The petitioner urged the Court to quash the two orders. Counsel for the Action Committee Unaided Private Schools, an organisation of Capital’s private schools, defended the liberty given to these schools to frame criteria for nursery admission, 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.

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