The Delhi High Court on Thursday restored the management quota and 11 criteria for nursery admission in the capital’s private unaided schools abolished by the Aam Aadmi Party government. The court asked the government to take action against malpractices such as sale of seats.
In an interim order, justice Manmohan stayed a January 6 circular of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government that scrapped 62 admission criteria, including the management quota under which schools could use their discretion to award seats.
After this order, apart from the management quota, private unaided schools will be able to admit students on 11 criteria under a points system such as firstborn, adopted child, twins,parents with proficiency in music, sports, national awardee, etc.
“Promoters of a school who make investment at their own personal risk are entitled to full autonomy in administration including the right to admit students,” justice Manmohan said.
“Prima facie, the impugned (January 6) order has been issued without any authority and is in direct conflict with the order of 2007 issued by the Lieutenant Governor (which permitted management quota up to 20%).”
Hours after the verdict, the government said an appeal will be filed while schools welcomed it.
A private schools’ association said its “autonomy” was upheld and the decision was timely enough to not disturb the nursery admission schedule.
“Facilitating good education for students in Delhi is the responsibility of the government. We will appeal against the HC order,” deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio, said in a tweet.
“We respect the court’s decision but the fight for transparency in functioning of private schools will continue,” he added.
Earlier, Kejriwal had termed the management quota as a scam and a way to “loot people” while defending the government’s decision to scrap it along with 61 criteria that according to it were “unfair, unreasonable and non-transparent”.
Sisodia had submitted in a sealed cover to the high court a list of documents and evidence given by parents who alleged some private schools asked for money to admit students.
Justice Manmohan said any alleged malpractice in utilisation of the management quota such as sale of seats should be investigated and taken to its logical conclusion in accordance with the law, but it could not be a ground to abolish the quota itself.
The court declined to consider an argument that “schools have no discretion in admission because of a covenant in the lease deed”, saying it would be considered at a later stage.
Each year, individual private schools set different parameters to admit students in nursery or pre-school based on the points scored by a child. This academic year, however, the government decided to scrap 61 of the criteria in the midst of the admission process for nursery classes in over 2,500 private schools.
The process of distributing admission forms began on January 1 and will end on January 22. The first list of selected candidates will be displayed on February 15. The second list, if any, will come out on February 29 and the admission process will be closed on March 31.