Photo: Arvind Yadav/HT
Photo: Arvind Yadav/HT

Delhi high court reserves order on nursery admissions row

On 6 January, the Delhi government scrapped management quota and several other criteria followed in private schools

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Tuesday reserved its order regarding the Delhi government’s scrapping of a list of 62 criteria being followed by private unaided schools in their admission process.

The order is likely to be pronounced on 4 February.

While hearing the matter, Justice Manmohan noted that minority educational institutions would not be bound by the criteria of religious status of the child as that would amount to taking away the right of selection and administration of such institutions.

Justifying the direction passed by the Delhi government, senior advocate Guru Krishnan Kumar, appearing for the state, said: “It is our duty to regulate the process of admission in private schools if the criteria being followed is subject to misuse and malpractice."

His claim was challenged by a body of private unaided schools who told the court: “My fundamental right of administration cannot be taken away under a blanket ban. There has to be a balancing and the different quotas prescribed by private schools have been arrived at under the wisdom of various authorities and bodies."

In an earlier hearing, Justice Manmohan had questioned the Delhi government for lack of action on its part after being presented with anonymous letters by Delhi deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, from parents who had written citing instances of malpractice in private schools under the garb of management quota.

On 6 January, Delhi had scrapped management quota and several other criteria followed in private schools in a bid to make the admission process transparent.

This was challenged by two bodies representing private schools which moved the Delhi high court on 15 January questioning the powers of the Delhi government to issue the notification without approval from the lieutenant governor.

Seeking a stay on the Delhi government order, pleas by Forum for Protection of Quality Education For all and Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Schools, a body of more than 400 private unaided schools functioning in Delhi, claimed that such action by Delhi government was “arbitrary and unconstitutional".

Among the 62 criteria which were scrapped out of a total 2,500, included the achievements and background of parents, if they were vegetarians or consumed alcohol.

The court, to ensure that there is no confusion in the ongoing admission process, had held that parents would need to fill forms as per criteria already uploaded by schools but their scrutiny would be subject to the final outcome in the case.