The Delhi High Court today allowed 298 private unaided schools to go ahead with the nursery admission process. However, the court said the admissions will be subject to the final verdict of the city government’s appeal on the issue.
On Thursday, the Delhi government moved the High Court’s division bench over the disagreement on the nursery admission distance criteria norm. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal was hearing the Delhi government’s appeal against a single judge’s interim order that had stayed its nursery admission directive on the neighbourhood criterion.
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“Having regard to the fact that the admission process is already been in operation, it would not be proper to stop it. We, however, make it clear that whatever steps have been taken by the parties will be subject to the final outcome of the appeal that is pending,” the bench said.
The Bench also said that they will examine the issue. “Meanwhile, a copy of the petition be served on the respondents (including two school associations and the parents),” the bench said and fixed the matter for further consideration on February 22.
It also sought the response of the two school associations and the parents on the Delhi government’s appeal in the case.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Directorate of Education (DoE), submitted that in the absence of the neighbourhood criterion, schools will accept admission in an arbitrary and opaque manner, and even justify charging exorbitant fees from the parents.
As per the notification, if any seat remained vacant after admitting students from within 1 km, children living between 1 and 3 km of the school would be given priority. One of the petitioners, Forum for Promotion of Quality Education for All, argued that under the current laws, all private schools fall under the same category, so the state government cannot single out 298 schools.
In two directives on December 19, 2016 and January 7, the Delhi government made it compulsory for the 298 private schools built on Delhi Development Authority land to admit children in nursery who live in that neighbourbood or stay within a certain distance from the school.