The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Union Government to clarify by Wednesday whether pre-schooling is covered under the Right to Information Act, 2009, or not.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Darmar Murugesan and Justice V. K. Jain gave more time when the Government failed to file an affidavit on it as directed by the Court earlier following a submission by its counsel that the Act was applicable only to children who are six to 14 years old.

Passing the direction, the Bench fixed the matter for Wednesday at 2-15 p.m. for further hearing.

It also asked the Government to inform whether there was any provision to protect children admitted in pre-schools from screening.

The Court has been hearing a petition by non-government organisation Social Jurist 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.

It has already reserved order on it. It has 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 autonomy in admission 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 admission to children of poor parents leading to the defeat of the aim and objectives of the Right to Education Act.

Petitioner counsel further argued that the draw of lots mode for admission to nursery was class-neutral and had a fair amount of chances of children of deprived parents getting admitted.

The two notifications were also contrary to Section 13 of the Act which says there will be no screening process for either parents or 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.

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