HC refuses to stay order on schools

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday once again refused to stay the Delhi Development Authority's orders cancelling the lease of four private schools here.

The DDA last week had cancelled their land leases holding them guilty of not providing free education to poor students as per the land lease agreements.

A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rekha Sharma, however, directed the DDA not to dispossess these schools till February 22, the next date of hearing, when the pending public interest litigation in the matter will also be taken up for hearing.

The Bench directed the school managements to tell the Court separately about the percentage of poor students whom they had admitted to their respective schools in the last academic session.

In their separate petitions, the four schools -- Pinnacle (Babs Naronha Educational Society), Panchsheel Enclave; Gyan Mandir Education Society, Naraina Vihar; Rukmani Devi-Seth Pokhar Mal Education Society, CD Block Pitampura; and Bal Bharti School (Child Education Society), Pitampura -- have alleged that the DDA action was arbitrary and unlawful.

At the last hearing of the PIL, the Bench had ordered constitution of an expert committee to discuss the issue of subsidising quality education for students coming from weaker sections of society in those private schools which had not taken land from the State at concessional rates. However, the Bench had made it clear that schools which had agreed to the land lease condition of providing free education to a specified percentage of poor students would have to honour the commitment.

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