The long wait for a decision on nursery admission came to an end on Thursday. The Delhi High Court confirmed the admission of those who were selected in the first round of draw of lots, after scoring 70 points and more.
Parents of students who had availed the interstate transfer (IST) quota points, however, will have to wait until April 16, the next date of hearing, to find out the fate of their wards.
Parents of those children who have got admission in multiple schools have been directed to choose a school by April 9. “In case this choice is not made within three working days — on or before April 9 — they will lose their right to an admission,” the court warned.
The High Court bench of Acting Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul is yet to decide on the seats left vacant after the IST category was abolished and those which will fall free after candidates choose a school. The court, however, said no fresh draw will be held for newly opened seats until the next date of hearing.
The decision was announced after a nearly five-hour long hearing, which saw vociferous arguments from a large number of parents present in the court.
As multiple petitions had been filed by different groups of parents, the court had last week asked the Directorate of Education (DoE) to discuss a “viable solution” with the advocates representing the different groups.
Among the various pleas is a petition filed by parents of children who had got admission under the IST category. These parents approached court after the government abolished this category on February 27.
Another plea was by a set of parents whose wards had scored 70 points under the neighbourhood criteria. They were opposed to a fresh draw of lots. “This is an imperfect situation. There is a need for balance,” senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who appeared for DoE, said.
The court also expressed its reluctance to order a fresh draw of lots. “About 2,925 of some 60,000 seats were filled under interstate transfer category in the first round. So, there are about 900 or so actual numbers since many got through to multiple schools. Why do you want a fresh draw for all seats?” the court said.
During the hearing, the court asked advocate Nitesh Gupta, counsel for the IST category parents, to draw up a list of candidates who forfeited their admission after the category was abolished.
‘Schools with facilities for children with special needs should admit them’
The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed that all children with special needs be granted admission in schools which had the facilities to educate them in the primary and first grade. It observed that the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, would prevail over the rules made under the Right to Education Act and the nursery admission criteria laid down by the Delhi government.
The court of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice R V Easwar also noted that the state had not been able to fulfil its obligation to provide education to children with special needs and there was a need to create necessary infrastructure in government schools. With regard to this year’s nursery and Class I admission, the court said only 43 private-unaided schools had adequate facilities to admit children with special needs.
It directed that the nursery admission guidelines would not apply to these schools when it comes to admitting such children this year. These directions will apply to several popular schools including Sanskriti, Vasant Valley and DPS.
The court also held that children with special needs could not be clubbed with economically weaker or the socially disadvantaged children under the 25% quota set aside for those two categories.
The court also noted that the provision for 3% reservation for the disabled was not enough since the scope of Section 26 of the PWD Act was much larger.
The orders were issued on a PIL filed by parents of a child with special needs who were forced to withdraw their child from a school due to neglect and lack of infrastructure.