The Delhi High Court has sought the view of the central government on a plea challenging the legality of the admission guidelines of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) for economically weaker students (EWS).
The court noted that the Kendriya Vidyalayas since 1972 have been giving reservations in admission to the extent of 22.5 percent for scheduled castes/scheduled tribes (SC/ST) category students.
“Now as per Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, 25 percent seats are to be reserved for children belonging to disadvantaged groups as well as children belonging to economically weaker sections. Admittedly disadvantaged group includes SC/ST category children as well,” the court observed.
“This raised question as to whether Kendriya Vidyalaya can continue to give reservation to the extent of 22.5 percent for SC/ST category students thereby leaving only 2.5 percent seats for other disadvantaged groups as well as EWS,” said division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw recently, according to a order made available this week.
Seeking to elicit the view of the government, the court said: “It seems that the Union of India has not looked into and examined the matter from this angle. We would therefore like to elicit the views of the central government on this aspect.”
The court’s order came on a plea that alleged that the KVS Admission Guidelines 2012-2013 for admission in Class 1 for the disadvantaged group/EWS violate the provisions of the right to education act.
The petition contended that the KVS has provided 22.5 percent reservation to SC/STs within the 25 percent reserved quota for children belonging to disadvantaged groups including SCs/STs.
Petitioner, advocate Ashok Aggarwal, argued that this was not permissible under the right to education act since it translates into “reservation within reservation” and is invalid.
“KVS has reserved 25 percent seats for the children belonging to disadvantaged group and EWS but at the same time, introduced 22.5 percent reservation of the total seats for SC/ST in the said reserved category of 25 per cent seats, resulting in unjust discrimination among the categories of students falling under the reserved categories of disadvantaged group and EWS,” the petition said.
Aggarwal had asked the court whether there can legally be a reservation within reservation for SCs/STs.
He cited an example, that out of the total 10 seats reserved for children belonging to disadvantaged groups and EWS under the 25 percent reserved seats, nine seats would go to SC/ST and one seat would be left for children belonging to other backward classes, children with disabilities and others.
“If nine seats out of 10 seats are reserved for SC/ST, the percentage of reservation would not only be 22.5 percent but would be 90 percent, which is otherwise also not permissible in law.”
Besides seeking the court’s directions for the KVS to reframe its admission guidelines 2012-13 for Class 1 in accordance with the law, the petitioner also sought to declare the guidelines arbitrary and unconstitutional.