NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court will pass an order Wednesday on pleas challenging a single-judge bench decision to quash the Lt. Governor's guidelines on nursery admissions in the capital's unaided private schools.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw reserved the order for Wednesday on applications that sought interim suspension of the single-judge bench order.
The Delhi government and NGO Social Jurist have filed appeals against the judge's order which quashed the guidelines issued last year by Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung.
The order said that the neighbourhood, sibling and alumni criteria set as per the notification will go and schools can now set their own criteria according to the 2007 Ganguly Committee guidelines.
On Nov 28, Justice Manmohan quashed the points system, saying the guidelines were in violation of the fundamental rights of the school managements to have maximum autonomy in day-to-day administration, including the right to admit students.
The Lt. Governor issued the guidelines Dec 18, 2013, after which a number of petitions were filed against them.
The guidelines outlined several criteria, including the neighbourhood factor, which sought that schools give preference to children living within eight km of it.
This criterion was given the maximum weightage of 70 points out of 100 in the open category seats. Other criteria were siblings studying in the same school (20 points), applications of girls (five points), and wards of school alumni (five points).
Seeking that the single judge bench's order be quashed, the Delhi government and NGO Social Jurist said there cannot be any discrimination, question of autonomy in the matter of admitting children around three years of age in nursery.
During the hearing senior advocate P.P. Malhotra, appearing for government said that the order was totally against the law.
"The judge erred to hold that if parents are given freedom to choose schools, the good schools would attract more students and would expand and not-so-good schools would lose students," he added.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal appearing for NGO told the court that the guidelines were child-centric and deserved to be upheld by law. "There was no question of schools' autonomy in the matter of admission of tiny tots," he added.
Advocate appearing for private unaided schools, however, opposed the contentions of government and NGO saying the single judge in its order has hold that there is no proof to show that schools were indulging in any malpractice or were misusing their right to admit students.
The single judge bench quashing the lieutenant governor's guidelines had said the power to decide the school for a child should lie with the parents and not with the government.
The court had said it nowhere stipulates that "children would have to take admission only in a neighbourhood school or that children cannot take admissions in schools situated beyond their neighbourhood".