Nursery Admission: School’s choice cannot be restricted to localities says Delhi HC

Nursery School Admission759

AAP government has enforced a clause in the DDA allotment letter making it mandatory for 298 private unaided schools in Delhi to accept nursery admission forms based only on the neighbourhood norm.

But on Tuesday, Delhi High Court termed government’s new nursery admission norms as “arbitrary and discriminatory” therefore, putting stay on the City Government notification.

The court added that, the children through their parents have the fundamental right to consider admission in a school of their choice under the Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The court put stay on nursery admission notification based on four petitions which were moved by Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools, Forum for Promotion of Quality Education for All and two petitions by individual parents.

During arguments on the nursery admission notification, the school groups had alleged Delhi Government for discriminating among schools as the neighbourhood criteria has been applied against only 298 schools while it has not been made mandatory for the other 1,400 schools in the city.

While the Delhi Government had defended its decision, saying that a perusal of the allotment letter “clearly and explicitly shows that lessee school had willingly accepted the terms of allotment and on the same very terms of allotment, the lessee has been enjoying the property since time of allotment“.

According to Justice Manmohan, the norm provided by AAP government could only benefit to those parents and children who stayed near to good private schools as the notification clearly stated to admit 75% students in Nursery from the neighbourhood only. The court therefore rejected the government’s argument that the decision was taken in larger public interest as the Public interest cannot be confined to children going to the 298 schools on DDA land.

The Court added that, “children should have the option to go to a neighbourhood school but their choice cannot be restricted only to the school situated in their locality and if the students from all faiths, communities and different parts of Delhi are admitted in a school, it would promote diversity, openness, liberalism and greater understanding of the city and its culture”, which means that parents can continue with nursery admissions according to the set criteria of the schools.

The court delivered this interim order only on a priority basis, since the process for nursery admission has already begun. The matter will be finally decided in March.

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