Delhi High Court on Tuesday said allowing each unaided recognised private school to frame its own nursery admission criteria would be “unguided liberty or power” to the institution and could result in discrimination among the children.
“Allowing different schools to frame different criteria for admission would be unguided liberty or power,” a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain said.
“Is this not discrimination? Don’t make further classification. Don’t discriminate between children,” the bench told the counsel appearing on behalf of the schools.
The court made the remarks while hearing a PIL filed by NGO Social Jurist, against two notifications issued by the Human Resources Development Ministry and Directorate of Education of Delhi government on the admission issue. The arguments in the case will continue on Wednesday.
The PIL alleged that these two notifications have “given a totally free hand to all unaided recognised private schools to formulate their own nursery admission criteria based on categorisation of children...”
The court said it was concerned about whether the government notification is against the provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act and Article 21A of the Constitution, which makes education a fundamental right.
“This is only for the interests of the children and not the schools,” the court told the counsel who had argued that there cannot be a “common yardstick” for admitting children.
The PIL said the categorisation of children by schools for admission has specifically been barred by the RTE Act, and that some schools give preference on grounds such as religion, alumni and sibling.
The High Court had on Monday said that its decision on the PIL would also affect nursery class admissions for the academic session 2013-14.
Earlier, the NGO’s counsel Ashok Agarwal had said he wanted the law to be settled on the issue and would not want the ongoing admission process to be affected by the court order.
The NGO alleged: “The power given to schools to lay down admission criteria is contrary to Section 13 of the Act which says that there would be no screening process of either parents or of kids and no child would be discriminated against. It also provides that admission would be taken by way of draw of lots and neighbourhood would be the only criteria.”