New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday reserved its judgment in a case challenging a Delhi government notification that directed private schools built on public land to admit nursery students by using only the distance/neighbourhood criterion.
The arguments in the case which were heard at length by justice Manmohan have concluded and a verdict is likely within a week.
On 20 January, the court stayed the notification, as a result of which around 15 unaided private minority schools built on public land were free to decide on admitting students under the unreserved category for nursery admissions.
It was held that minority education institutions had autonomy over the functioning of such schools and could not be asked to be regulated under the notification.
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“The court is of the prima facie view that minority schools can admit students in the manner that they deem fit. They should not have to be regulated by criteria as set out under the notification,” justice Manmohan held while staying the notification.
He also criticised the Delhi government for issuing the notification at the last moment, causing chaos in the admission process.
Under 7 January notification, the Delhi government sought to allot seats for nursery admissions in private unaided schools built on public land based on the location of the school. It gave priority for admission to those living within a radius of 1 kilometre from the school. In case seats remained vacant, those living within a 3 kilometre radius would be given a chance.
The notification was challenged by the Action Committee for Unaided Recognised Private Schools—comprising more than 450 private unaided recognised schools in Delhi and the Forum for Promotion of Quality Education.
Two private schools—Mount Carmel and Somerville—also challenged the notification, claiming it was against their right to administer and carry out the admission process.