Amid a row over the daughter of a rickshaw puller being asked to undergo a bone ossification test to verify her age, the Directorate of Education (DoE) has told the Delhi High Court it is apprehensive that the girl’s parents could be lying.
The girl had got nursery admission in a private school under the economically weaker section (EWS) category. The school had approached the DoE since it believes the child is older than her father says she is. The child’s father had opposed the test and, through NGO Social Jurist, moved the Delhi High Court.
The Indian Express first reported the matter on May 13.
The child had got admission to GD Goenka School in Model Town through a centralised draw of lots. The school had sought to deny admission, saying that instead of three-four years old, the child looked eight-nine. The school also claimed that her handwriting suggested she was older.
Submitting an affidavit in the High Court, the DoE stated, “From the conduct of the parents of the petitioner, it transpires that he is evading from (his daughter) being examined by a medical board of the government hospital, which creates apprehension that the parents have not mentioned the correct age.”
The DOE had scheduled the ossification test on May 15 at Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital.
The affidavit, submitted on May 19, requested that the father’s petition be dismissed. However, during proceedings held on Friday, the court sought a reply from the education department and the school.
Advocate Khagesh Jha, representing the girl’s father, said that the bone ossification test in such a case would violate Article 21 of the Constitution: “The parents had already submitted a birth certificate and Supreme Court judgment says that even if there is a difference in age, her birth certificate shall prevail. The DoE has no reason to presume that this statement is false and there is no procedure for medical test on a child statutorily entrusted with the Director of Education.”
The school and DoE could not be reached for a comment.