Admission Criteria Deadline For Sanskriti School

The Delhi government's deadline of January 22 for accepting nursery admission forms was today extended till this month end for the prestigious Sanskriti School today by the Supreme Court, which also decided to set up a three-judge bench to hear the matter.

The Centre and the school administration have assailed in the apex court the decision of Delhi High Court setting aside the 60 per cent quota for wards of group-A government officials who are in the highest class of government servants, in the school.

They have also sought an interim order allowing the institution to continue with the admission process under the old scheme till the matter is finally decided by it.

A bench comprising justices A R Dave and A K Goel, which has now fixed the pleas for hearing on January 21, said now a three-judge bench would hear the petitions of the school and the Centre.

Now the court will decide as to whether the society running the school, can be held as state or its instrumentality under the Constitution and hence, amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the apex court and the high court.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter, said there were judgments which were at variance with each other on when a society can be held either state or its instrumentality.

He said a three judge bench should hear the matter and give a "once for all" authoritative view on the issue as to whether a society, managing the affairs of an institution or a sport, would be akin to the state.

Earlier, the Government had told the apex court that wards of government employees, other than Group-A central government officials, can also be provided admission under 60 per cent quota earlier meant only for kids of this section in the prestigious Sanskriti School here.

The school administration had said the nursery admission process under the local laws have begun on January 1 and the last date for submission of nursery forms is January 22.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is also assisting the court as an amicus curiae, had said he was personally not in favour of granting 60 per cent reservation to wards of Group-A central government officials, but there should be some avenues for the wards of other officers also who get transferred often to various places or sent on offshore assignments.
Meanwhile, one Dheeraj Singh, father of an admission

seeker, had moved a plea through lawyer Akhil Sachar for being made a party in the case, alleging that the High Court had already quashed a 2013 notification granting special status to the school and the order had remained unchallenged.

While setting aside the 60 per cent quota in Sanskriti School, the high court in its November 6 judgement had said it was "akin to the erstwhile segregation of white and black students in the US and violated constitutional provisions of equality and right to education".

The Centre and the school have separately challenged the High Court decision.

The apex court had on December 15 last year agreed to hear the plea challenging the Delhi High Court decision.

60 per cent seats in the school are reserved for children of Group-A officers, 25 per cent for those from economically weaker sections, 10 per cent for wards of rest of the society and 5 per cent for its own staff.

The high court in its judgement had also observed that various expert commissions have said that the current school system in India and abroad promoted and maintained a wide chasm between the advantaged and disadvantaged.

The high court had taken suo motu cognizance of the issue in 2006 after reports that the school was charging "nearly 40 per cent less fee from the children of Group-A officers of the Union Government vis-a-vis other children".

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