In a setback to unaided private schools, the Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed their plea seeking a stay on the government’s new nursery admission guidelines. The guidelines scrapped the 20 per cent management quota. Nursery admissions in the capital will now begin from Tuesday.
Observing that the schools had “not been able to satisfy us of any irreparable loss and injury to them” if the stay orders were not issued, the bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justice RS Endlaw dismissed the plea for injunction.
The schools had approached the court, challenging the guidelines, which had fixed parameters and points for admission to a class at entry level of the school. Schools are also prohibited from fixing additional points other than those specified. The Action Committee of Unaided Recognized Private Schools and the Forum for Quality Education had challenged the orders before a single bench of the High Court and had sought a stay on the operation of the notification while the case was being heard. The schools had demanded that this year’s admission process should not follow the notification guidelines.
They had approached the division bench after the single bench had declined to issue a stay order.
The main plea, which challenges the guideline issued under the L-G’s notification will now be heard by the single bench in March.
The court held that the “interference at this stage would create confusion and would be detrimental to the interests of children as well as parents”.
“Notice can also be taken of the fact that the number of admission seekers is much more than the seats available in the schools. The same leads to elaborate planning on the part of the parents for arranging for admission and any uncertainty in the rules of admission is likely to cause grave prejudice to the parents,” the court held, adding that the stay order was not in public interest.
The Department of Education has also extended the last date for submission of admission application to February 5. Schools will display the first list of selected candidates on February 28. The entire procedure will end by March 31, as planned by the department earlier.
Disappointed with the order, the schools plan to approach the Supreme Court. “Yes, we are disappointed. We were hoping to get some relief from the High Court. As a last and final effort, we will now approach the Supreme Court in a couple of days,” S K Bhattacharya, president, Action Committee for Unaided Recognized Private Schools, said.
“Our fight is not against the point system, but for the schools’ autonomy. Right now, the government is controlling the entire admission process. They don’t have the power to do that,” he said.
School principals also expressed their disappointment over the verdict. “With this order, the autonomy for private schools has become a myth,” Jyoti Bose, principal, Springdales School, Dhaula Kuan, said.
Parents across the capital have welcomed the High Court order. “We are very happy with the court’s decision. It’s great for parents who can’t pay donations to big schools. It is fair and in the best interest of the education system,” Sumit Vohra, founder of website admissionsnursery, said.
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