A Delhi court has ordered a verification of nursery admissions made under the economically weaker sections (EWS) category by private schools in the last one year after it was told that parents had allegedly used forged documents to abuse the benefit meant for the poor.
Issuing directions to the Delhi government, chief metropolitan magistrate Ashish Aggarwal on April 11 asked for a detailed report on children whose parents faked income certificates to qualify under the economically weaker sections category.
Under the right to education act, schools have to set aside 25% seats for students from economically weaker sections but some parents in Delhi, where nursery admissions are fiercely fought, often resort to illegal means.
Fake documents were allegedly used in 22 schools to secure admissions in 2015, special public prosecutor Pankaj Bhatia told the court hearing a criminal case against a group of parents charged with conspiracy to commit forgery and fraud.
The case was registered in March 2015 by the crime branch after a school complained of receiving a fake EWS certificate. Police investigation is still on.
“The government of Delhi shall also submit before this court as to whether it is aggrieved by any of the conclusions arrived by Delhi Police in filling police reports...,” the court said.
It asked the government to share its report with the investigating officer.
Hindustan Times was the first to write about the rampant use of fake documents. A gang of forgers was working closely with some parents and schools staff, HT wrote in May.
Bhatia told the court only three schools had filed their replies though the investigation had been going on for a year. A few other schools had replied but not on an affidavit, which would take a month.
In their reply, the three schools said all the students whose documents were fabricated were expelled.
The process of verification was to be done to identify the people who had filed false certificates, the court said, adding the government was free to call school records.
The case will now be heard on May 16.
All private schools built on government land in the Capital have to reserve 20% seats in all classes for EWS students but the RTE rules takes precedence in entry level classes.
Around 150,000 children vie for 125,000 nursery seats in the city every year. The fight is to get into the top 100 of the 1,300 private schools.