The court said the schools are free to come up with their own procedures.
New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Friday stayed the city government notification that made it mandatory for private unaided minority schools to admit kids in nursery, in the unreserved category, on the basis of neighbourhood criteria. The court said the schools are free to come up with their own procedures. The bench also observed that the government’s notification is “interfering with the fundamental rights of the minority”.
Justice Manmohan said, “This court is of the prima facie view that minority schools are entitled to admit students in their own manner as long as there is no mismanagement.”
Earlier in the week, the court had pulled up the Aam Aadmi Party government for issuing such notification” at the 11th hour putting everyone in a chaos like situation” and said the government in future should make an endeavour to frame such policy at least six months in advance, if not earlier.
“Prima facie the Delhi government notification dated January 7, 2017, is contrary to the constitutional mandate. This court is of the view that fundamental right of minority schools cannot be interfered with and their right to admit students cannot be taken away. Minority schools have the right of maximum administration which cannot be taken away by any terms of contract,” Justice Manmohan said.
Pointing to the apex court verdicts safeguarding the rights available to minority-run institutions under the Constitution, the high court said, “Treat them differently and the right to administer a minority school also contains the right to devise procedures for admission as long as they (procedures) are fair and transparent.”
Granting interim relief to schools, it said, “Keeping in view the decision of the Supreme Court and this court, such schools are entitled to admit students according to their own procedures as long as they are fair and transparent and accordingly the impugned notification (of January 7, 2017) is stayed till further order of this court.”
The court has now fixed the main petition for further hearing on March 21 by when it has asked Delhi government to file their affidavit.
The court was hearing a batch of petitions by some private unaided minority schools challenging the notification issued by the Delhi government.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Directorate of Education (DoE), had told the court that they have left it open for minority schools to decide on admitting students, adding that “after admitting the minority students, whatever seats are left, on that we want them to apply the neighbourhood criteria”.
The Delhi government had earlier said the distance criteria was a “priority gradation system” where first preference would be given to children within 1 km, then 1-3 km and then, if there was vacancy, to beyond 6 kms.