On Thursday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia lent support to the education department’s suggestion that residence in Delhi should be an eligibility criterion for admission to Delhi government schools. Issues on similar lines have been challenged in courts in the past, and the judiciary has passed orders and judgments that could be a factor while trying to implement the current proposal.
In a letter to the education department, Sisodia wrote, “…we also need to realise that we cannot be expected to provide quality education to residents of adjoining states as well, especially when the neighbouring states are doing nothing to improve their government schools.”
In 2010, the Delhi High Court had dealt with a question of whether residents of a part of Delhi outside the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) limits have a right to admission in schools run by NDMC. Twelve petitioners were seeking admission for their wards to a Navyug School. The schools are run by the Navyug School Education Society, which is financed, controlled and run by NDMC. The petition was dismissed by Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.
In the order, he wrote, “The only right thereunder [under the RTE act] is to admission in a school in the neighbourhood; such neighbourhood would necessarily mean the neighbourhood within the municipality in which the residence is situated… The desire of the petitioners for admission in the Navyug Schools is perhaps because of better standard of education being maintained than in other schools closer to the residence of petitioners. However, the said desire does not constitute a right under any of the legislations aforesaid.”
Last year, the court heard a petition seeking quashing an order issued by Delhi government’s Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, in which patients not holding Delhi voter ID cards were categorised as non-Delhi patients, and allowed limited medical facilities. The move was defended in court as a bid to decongest the hospital.
The court noted that “it was tried to be indicated that many people from nearby villages and areas come to Delhi for treatment and therefore this should be prevented”. It referred to the special status available to Delhi as the National Capital Territory of Delhi, and referred to a Constitution bench examining validity of reservation of seats in a medical college for Delhi candidates which stated: “The capital city is not just a part of India. It is miniaturised India… Anyone who lives inside India can never be considered an ‘outsider’ in Delhi.” The circular was quashed by Justice V K Rao and the hospital was directed to provide facilities to all citizens.