Nursery Admission: Delhi HC Refuses To Stay Order Quashing Neighbourhood Norm

Over 298 schools were free to regulate their nursery admission process as a result of the single judges’ order, says Delhi HC

Delhi high court gave priority for admission to those living within a radius of one kilometre from the school. Photo: HT

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Friday refused to set aside an interim order staying the operation of the criterion of neighbourhood or distance for nursery admissions in Delhi
Under a 7 January notification issued by the Delhi government, it had sought to make it mandatory for private, unaided minority schools to admit nursery students, using their neighbourhood and the distance they travel as a criterion.
It gave priority for admission to those living within a radius of one kilometre from the school. In case seats remained vacant, those living within a three-kilometre radius would be given a chance.
The Delhi government had moved the court two days after the single judges’ order quashing the neighbourhood criteria was passed.
The appeal was heard by a division bench headed by chief justice of Delhi high court, G. Rohini who heard the matter at length but did not set aside the stay under the single judges’ order.
“The term ‘neighbourhood’ has been borrowed from the Right to Education rules. We are not touching the 25% reserved category and can exercise some amount of discretion,” Sanjay Jain, additional solicitor general, appearing for the Delhi government told the court.
On 14 February, justice Manmohan had stayed a set of guidelines issued by the Delhi government, which used distance as a norm for nursery admissions in private schools built on government land.
As a result, it allowed discretion to private schools to admit students for nursery without using distance as a criteria. Over 298 private schools in Delhi would be free to regulate their nursery admission process as a result of the order.
“The notification is arbitrary, discriminatory as it benefits certain parents against others.” said justice Manmohan.
Holding that distance cannot be a sole criteria for admitting students for nursery in private schools, the court upheld the fundamental rights of students to be considered into a school of their choice.
The court in January had partially stayed the neighbourhood criteria under the notification for unaided minority schools build on govt land.
As a result of the court’s order, around 15 unaided private minority schools sited on public land were free to decide on admitting students under the unreserved category for nursery admissions.
You cannot prescribe such a criteria as it is ‘contrary to the constitutional mandate’ of India, the order held.
The Delhi government had submitted that a perusal of the allotment letter clearly and explicitly showed that lessee school had willingly accepted the terms of allotment.
The matter will be heard next on 22 February.
Source: http://www.livemint.com/Education/RuDEmVTZPYy3IZt4A7dufM/Nursery-admissions-Delhi-HC-upholds-order-quashing-neighbou.html

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