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The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the Delhi government on an NGO’s plea for direction to prohibit private schools in the national capital from admitting children less than four years of age in pre-primary classes.

 Accusing various unaided private schools of admitting children below four years in their pre-primary classes, the NGO in it public interest litigation (PIL) sought a direction to the government to stop this practice.

 Taking note of the PIL, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued a notice to the Delhi government returnable with its response by Nov 23.

 The court was hearing the petition of NGO Social Jurist through its counsel Ashok Agarwal.

 He referred to the September 2007 court order that directed the government to implement the recommendations of the Ashok Ganguly Committee, which fixed four years-plus as the age criterion for admission to pre-primary class.

 The admission to nursery – a class before the formal pre-primary class – at three-plus age was treated as admission in the formal school system, which was illegal, the petition said. It blamed the government for its failure to frame proper guidelines on the issue.

 The state’s inaction violated the fundamental rights of children, the petition said.

 Different unaided recognised private schools in Delhi were applying different age criteria for admission of children to pre-primary classes, said the petition, seeking direction to the government to ensure that all schools followed a uniform system.

 The Delhi School Education Act, 1973, provided that a child who had not attained the age of five years shall not be admitted to Class 1 in a recognised school, said the petition.

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