Neighbourhood criteria is arbitrary and discriminatory: HC stays government norms

0
49
image courtesy : The Indian Express. Parents queue up for nursery admission.

Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed the AAP government’s new nursery admission norms based on the neighbourhood criteria, saying they were “arbitrary and discriminatory”. Justice Manmohan said the interim stay on the January 7 notification would remain in place till final disposal of the pleas challenging the Delhi government’s order to private unaided schools to accept nursery admission forms based only on the neighbourhood or distance criteria.

The Schools and Parents Association here on Tuesday hailed the Delhi High Court’s order on nursery admission guidelines set by the Arvind Kejriwal government while the authorities said they would appeal against the ruling.

The petitions have been filed by parents and two school groups challenging the Delhi Government’s December 19, 2016 and January 7 notifications that made 298 private schools, built on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land, to accept nursery admission forms based only on the neighbourhood or distance norm.

The premier private unaided minority schools had approached the high court against the circular, saying it has infringed their rights to admit students.

The school groups had alleged during arguments that the Delhi government has “discriminated” 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.

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“.

Justice Manmohan of the Delhi High Court, held that there is “a prima facie case in favour of the petitioners” and  termed the notification as “arbitrary, unreasonable and against the public interest” before ordering a stay on its application on the private unaided schools for this year’s nursery admission process.

The court also said that the admission norms based on neighbourhood criteria were “prima facie unconstitutional”.