Delhi High Court directs Delhi Government, Centre

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Union and Delhi Governments to treat “children with special needs” (CWSN) separate from those belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) and the disadvantaged group for admissions in pre-primary and other classes.

A Division Bench of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice R.V. Easwar gave this direction on a public interest litigation challenging an amendment to the Right to Education Act and a paragraph of the Delhi Government guidelines for nursery admissions that clubbed these students with those belonging to economically sections and the disadvantaged group.

The petitioner, Pramod Arora, is the parent of a child with special needs. He argued that he got his ward admitted with great difficulty to a Delhi school last year. The child could not progress and was neglected on account of lack of proper attention and infrastructure.

He further submitted that the number of schools equipped with infrastructure and personnel to handle these students were very few. The nature of the guidelines is such that these children have very little chances of getting admission in these institutions.

Allowing the plea, the Bench said: “This Court is therefore of the opinion that the petitioner’s argument is merited and has to prevail. First, the imperative of Section 26 [of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995] is that the Government has to ensure that all CWSN are given access to education till age 18.”

The Court directed the Delhi Government to “create a list of all public and private educational institutions catering to CWSN. This list shall be created zone wise. It shall include full details as to the nature of disability the institutions are able to cater to, the facilities available, whether residential or day-boarding, and the contact details for the concerned authority in that institution in case of any clarifications”.

The Court also directed it to create a nodal agency under the authority of the Department of Education (DoE) for the processing of all applications pertaining to admission of CWSN.

“This nodal agency shall structure a single form to be utilised by parents and guardians of CWSN for admissions into public and private institutions, including all relevant details required for the purposes of admission,” the Bench said.

This Court had during the pendency of this petition directed the Delhi Government to ensure that a certain number of seats are set aside in the pre-primary and primary admission processes to 43 schools. The matter will now come for hearing on May 7.

More In: Delhi