As Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Friday presented arguments in favour of scrapping management quota for nursery admissions, the Delhi High Court bench of Justice Manmohan cited “inaction” by the government.
“If you have complaints by parents then you take action. Have you taken any action against any school?” asked the bench after Sisodia claimed he had received several complaints from parents who were asked for donations during admissions.
Sisodia’s plea to “submit” several such complaints “in sealed cover” to the court, as “evidence” of mismanagement by schools was not appreciated by the bench, after he said the government was “protecting parents” by not revealing their identities.
“If you are in possession of information against the schools, why don’t you take action?” asked the court, adding that “malpractice” by the schools was “not permitted”.
The court also asked Sisodia to “consult his lawyer” before trying to submit a sealed report. It said documents cannot be submitted without proper procedure. “This posturing is not useful. You must take action,” it added.
The minister’s argument that parents “could be harassed” by the schools if their names were made public was also dismissed.
Sisodia also told the court that admissions had become a “loot ka adda”, and government schools had been “deliberately ruined” over the years by politicians
and bureaucrats who had opened their own private schools to earn money.
The government counsel also argued that the Delhi government had issued its order against the “illogical criteria” introduced by schools — including points for vegetarianism, non-smoker parents, and even marks obtained in the “previous class”.
The court has for now observed that “discretion” to manage the schools should not have been restricted, but “misuse of the discretion” could be checked by the government.
The bench also raised the issue that the order on the management quota had been passed by the Director of Education and not by the Lieutenant Governor, who is the “administrator” of the capital.
It also noted that the issue of the authority of the DoE to pass orders would “have to be carefully considered”, as schools had objected to the order being issued without the Lt Governor’s permission.
The bench is hearing arguments on a plea filed by the Action Committee of Unaided Private Schools challenging the government’s decision to quash 62 criteria introduced by schools for admissions to nursery classes, apart from the decision to quash management quota.
The hearing will continue Monday.