On December 19, 2016 and January 7, 2017, the Delhi government announced a notification in which it was made compulsory for 298 private schools in Delhi, that are built on Delhi Development Authority land, to accept admission forms of students living within a distance of 1 kilometre. Only if the seats in the school were vacant even after that, people staying within a distance of 3 kilometres could get a chance of getting admission in the school. This meant that the schools could not deny admission to students living in the neighborhood.

Non-availability of enough seats

Every year more than one lakh fifty thousand students fight for one lakh 25 thousand seats for getting admission in nursery. For the same issue, the AAP government came with the notification announced on December 19, 2016 and January 7, though the High Court does not agree with the Delhi government. According to the high court this competition and students not able to secure nursery admission in good schools is because of lack of good schools.

A Delhi High Court bench dismissed the AAP government appeal in which the schools were asked to give admission to the students based on distance criterion. “We have dismissed the appeal (of Delhi Government).We, however, have directed the single judge to decide the petitions (challenging the Delhi Government’s decision) as expeditiously as possible,” the Bench said.

This order has been out after the petitions filed by the parents and two school groups challenging the notification. According to them, this is not a solution to the main cause of the problems. The High Court had also questioned the city government decision for imposing this only on the schools built on Delhi Development Authority land. The parents and the school groups also challenged the Delhi government for the same, that the notification made it compulsory only for 298 schools, not all the 1400 schools of the capital.

Notification considered to be arbitrary and discriminative

According to Justice Manmohan, the notification was arbitrary, unreasonable, against public interest and discriminative. According to him, a matter of public interest cannot be confined just to a few schools in the capital. “Public interest cannot be confined to 298 schools,” Justice Manmohan said adding, “primary cause of nursery admission chaos is the lack of good schools in the capital”.
According to Delhi government, the schools could use any arbitrary criteria as per their wish in case of absence of such distance criterion. The Delhi government also added that the private schools may charge unreasonably high fee from the parents and may justify doing so with any reason.
As per Justice Manmohan, such notifications can only benefit only a few people. With the notification of AAP government, only those parents and students would have benefitted who stayed near good schools, while the other parents would have suffered.

The bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal refused to interfere with the single-judge verdict which allowed 298 private unaided schools, built on Delhi Development Authority land, to accept admission forms based on distance criterion. As per them, the schools are allowed to follow the same criteria they have been following in order to give nursery admissions to the kids.

The single judge had stayed the notification of the Delhi’s government regarding the nursery admission saying “a student’s educational fate can’t be relegated to only his/her position on a map”.

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