Nursery Admissions: Delhi govt appeals against judgment; No stay granted

The Delhi High Court today heard the Delhi government’s appeal against the single judge order staying the notification directing private unaided schools to follow the neighbourhood criteria for admissions.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal heard arguments from Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jainwho contended that Justice Manmohan’s judgment was erroneous and liable to be set aside.

As reported earlier, the single judge bench in the February 14 judgment had observed that the government’s notifications were “arbitrary, discriminatory and contrary to public interest”.

In the January 7 notification, the government had directed private unaided schools built on land provided by the Delhi Development Authority to reserve 75% seats for the children from the neighbourhood. Children within a 1 km radius of the school were to be given first preference during admissions, followed by those residing within a 3 km radius.

Jain argued before the bench today that the neighbourhood criteria was already a part of the Delhi Schools Education Act and Rules, 1973 and that it was only a matter of implementation.

He further argued that one of the major contentions of the schools before the single judge was that the “neighbourhood criteria” was not defined anywhere, which was taken care of in the impugned notification.

Jain also submitted that the government did not want to touch the 25% seats reserved for the economically weaker sections.

Although the bench did not grant a stay on the previous order, they showed interest in hearing the matter further. The matter is now listed for February 22.