The government's order infringed on the private unaided schools' autonomy and students' rights, says the court
In a setback for the Arvind Kejriwal government, Delhi High Court on Thursday restored the management quota for nursery admissions in private unaided schools.
Justice Manmohan, in an interim order, stayed the January 6 circular of the Aam Aadmi Party government that scrapped 62 criteria, including the management quota.
The court, however, accepted 11 criteria proposed by the private schools' association in place of the 62 criteria scrapped under the January 6 order, having said that some of the 62 criteria fixed by private schools for nursery admissions were "untenable".
It also asked the AAP government to take action against erring private schools which were "demanding money" from parents to admit kids using the management quota.
The court said the Delhi government order was passed "without any authority under law" or without approval of Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, and was in direct conflict with a 2007 order issued by the lt. governor.
In 2007, the lt governor issued an order giving freedom to private unaided recognised schools to frame their own guidelines for nursery admissions.
The court also said that the government's order infringed on the private unaided schools' autonomy and students' rights.
The Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education had moved the court saying the government circular was "absolutely without jurisdiction" and should be quashed as it completely took away the autonomy of schools, but the Delhi government had maintained that private unaided schools do not have "absolute autonomy".
The government had also said that by way of the January 6 notification, it did not prescribe any criteria, but only asked the private schools to adopt criteria which were "fair, just and reasonable".
Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio too, had appeared before the court and submitted in a sealed cover a list of documents and evidence given by parents who alleged that some private schools asked for money for admitting students.
The court, however, asked him to take action against those schools which were demanding money from parents for admission.
Chief Minister Kejriwal on January 6 said the decision to scrap the management quota was taken to bring in more transparency in the admission process. He said the existing provision of 25 per cent seats for students from poor families will however remain in place.
Currently, the schools keep 20 per cent or even more seats under the management quota, while 25 per cent seats are reserved for students from economically weaker sections. The remaining are open for the general category.