In a major relief to lakhs of students studying in about 3,000 unrecognised schools in the Capital, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed a Delhi High Court order to close down all such schools.
The order came from a bench headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on a petition filed by an association of unrecognised private schools challenging the February 8, 2008 order of the High Court for closure of all unrecognised schools.
On August 29, the court had issued notices to the Delhi Government, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on the petition filed by the co-ordination committee of public schools.
Appearing for the unrecognised schools, senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Pramod Gupta pointed out lakhs of students would be adversely affected by the closure. These were generally schools that were unable to fulfil the requirement of land criterion for registration. In such cases, even if they applied for recognition it would be rejected for the inability to meet the criterion.
The HC had issued a series of directions to the city government for regulating the unauthorised, unsafe schools in the Capital, holding the authorities guilty of "phenomenal failure" in checking them.
It had directed the Directorate of Education, DDA, MCD and the NDMC to close down the schools that did not satisfy requirements for recognition.
The co-ordination committee said these were generally ‘neighbourhood schools’ where students who fail to get admission in better schools go and were generally up to the level of Class VIII. Law did not prohibit running of these schools, the committee claimed.
The HC order had come on a PIL filed by an NGO, Social Jurist.