The Delhi High Court Thursday came down heavily on the Delhi government for issuing nursery admission norms at the “last minute”.
“Why do you come out with such notifications at the eleventh hour always? Every notification is in December-end or January. This notification should have been issued for the next year (2018), so that parents are ready in advance,” the bench of Justice Manmohan observed.
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Last year, the judge had struck down the Delhi government order on nursery admission guidelines and had allowed schools to apply 11 specific criteria. The bench also said the government “caused chaos and confusion among citizens every year by issuing the guidelines so late”.
Two groups, representing private unaided schools which run on DDA land, have challenged a clause in their allotment letter under which admissions have been restricted to the locality where these institutions are located.
The two school bodies and some parents have also challenged the Delhi government’s nursery admission norms, which enforce the clause in the DDA allotment letter.
However, the Delhi government said the issue should be listed before the judge hearing education matters, after which Justice Manmohan directed that the matter be heard before the appropriate bench. The four pleas were then taken up for hearing before the bench of Justice V K Rao, who has for now adjourned the matter, till Friday.
In the brief hearing before Justice Rao, the schools contended that the Delhi government’s decision has taken away their autonomy to admit students and this could scare away entrepreneurs who set up these private unaided schools.
The Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education, who have moved the court, argued that the neighbourhood restriction was “not reasonable”. The schools also argued that under the Right to Education Act of 2009, 25 per cent of the seats were reserved in private unaided schools for children belonging to poorer sections of society and disadvantaged groups, who lived in the neighbourhood, and the RTI Act provisions “supersede and subsume within it” all prior contractual and other agreements, including the DDA allotment letter.
The plea by parents has attacked the government’s guidelines for “restricting their choice or right to decide where to send their children to study”. The Delhi government also informed the bench that the last date for submission of applications for admission has been extended to January 31 from January 23 in a circular issued on January 9.
A total of 298 private schools on DDA land were affected by the nursery admission guidelines which state that such institutions “shall not refuse admission to the residents of the locality”.