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Delhi: No change in nursery admission criteria, rules High Court

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Feb 19, 2013 at 12:47pm IST

New Delhi: There will be no change in the criteria for nursery admissions in Delhi schools, the High Court ruled on Tuesday while saying that the government should consider necessary amendments to the Right to Education Act to include nursery admissions as well.

The Delhi High Court while disposing off the petition filed by NGO Social Jurist said there cannot be different yardsticks for children who are getting admitted to nursery. The High Court said that the government should consider necessary amendments to the Right to Education Act as at present only a child between the age of 6 to 14 years comes under it and a child eligible for admission to nursery is below six years.

"We uphold the notifications," a bench comprising Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice VK Jain said while disposing of a PIL seeking quashing of the notifications issued by the Union Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry and the Directorate of Education (DoE) respectively. The court allowed the plea of the Centre that the states were free to formulate policies to govern pre-school (nursery) admission.

Upholding the government's stand, the High Court also ruled that nursery admission for the academic year 2013-14 won't be affected.

The counsel for the petitioner Ashok Agarwal said that he was not satisfied with the court verdict and would approach the Supreme Court.

The High Court also observed that private schools cannot behave like teaching shops and cannot have a different yardstick for nursery admissions.

"We uphold the notifications," a bench comprising Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice VK Jain said while disposing of a PIL seeking quashing of the notifications issued by the Union Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry and the Directorate of Education (DoE) respectively. The court allowed the plea of the Centre that the states were free to formulate policies to govern pre-school (nursery) admission.

The court, in its judgement said that if the issue of pre-school admissions is not included under the RTE Act, then "it would render the law meaningless".

On November 23, 2010, the ministry had issued guidelines under the RTE Act that had allowed the schools to frame their own admission criteria, Social Jurist, which had challenged the two notifications issued by the HRD Ministry and the Delhi government, had submitted. Later, the DoE of the Delhi government had also issued similar guidelines, had said.

The NGO in its PIL had alleged that the notifications negated the RTE Act as the private unaided schools were allowed to formulate their own criteria for nursery admission.

The PIL had also alleged that the notifications gave "a totally free hand to all unaided recognised private schools to formulate their own nursery admission criteria based on categorisation of children...".

However, the categorisations of children in admission have specifically been barred by the RTE Act, it submitted, adding that some schools still give preference in admission on grounds such as religion, alumni and sibling.

A federation of private schools, however, had opposed the PIL, saying private institutions cannot be forced to "toe" the diktat so far as the admission process is concerned.

(With additional information from PTI)

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