The Delhi High Court on Tuesday ordered all unaided recognised private schools in the city, functioning on government land taken on lease at special rates, to reserve 10 per cent seats for poor students, and another five per cent for wards of school staff.
The rule will apply from 2008-09. The schools must also provide free education to these children, a division bench of justices T.S. Thakur and S.N. Aggarwal said in an interim order. Schools which do not comply with the order would be de-recognised and their land leases would be cancelled.
The order came on a petition of the Action Committee of Unaided Private Schools, challenging a related government order of January 2007. The government had asked all these 241 schools to allot 20 per cent free seats. But the schools had said they would be forced to raise fees and pass on the burden to other students if they implemented the rule.
Usha Ram of National Progressive Schools’ Conference, welcomed the order: “By reducing the ceiling from 20 to 10 per cent the court has avoided a fee hike.”
Lawyer Ashok Aggarwal, on whose plea the government had ordered 20 per cent free seats, said he would move the Supreme Court for more seats for poor students.