After days of uncertainty, Delhi’s private schools breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday after the Delhi high court ruled that it would not be interfering with the ongoing nursery admission process.
The relief, however, seems to be temporary.
The court, while hearing the petition filed by NGO Social Jurist, said schools cannot run like “teaching shops” with different yardsticks for nursery students and urged the Centre to amend the Right to Education Act (RTE) and bring nursery admissions under its purview.
“In its existing form, the Right to Education Act, which prohibited classification of students, is not applicable to nursery admissions. But necessary amendments should be considered by the state to give equal opportunity to all children,” said a bench of chief justice D Murugesan and justice VK Jain.
The RTE stipulates reservation of 25% of the seats in a school for children from economically weaker sections. But currently, the nursery admission process in private unaided schools is based on various criteria such as alumni, sibling and neighbourhood.
The court had earlier slammed the government for giving “unbridled power” to schools to choose criteria that were “against the RTE act” and also hinted at staying the admission.
But it altered its stand after the HRD ministry pointed out that only a child between the age of six and 14 years comes under the RTE.
Children seeking admission to nursery are below six years.The ruling comes at a time when city schools have already come out with their first list of selected candidates.
Lawyer Ashok Aggarwal, who had filed the petition, said he would challenge the verdict before the Supreme Court.