Children with special needs are allegedly being turned down by some of the city's more prominent schools.
In what is a clear violation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, a number of schools in the city have denied admission to these children, claiming that they lack the special infrastructure required for them.
Sources, however, said that this has become an excuse for schools to turn such children away.
A school in Vasant Vihar, known to have state-of-the-art infrastructure to teach children with special needs, has flatly denied admission.
In addition to this, despite a ban on screening parents and children, by the HRD ministry under section 13(1) of the RTE, schools are still going ahead with the screening process.
"We were called by the school authorities for a screening process with our child. They spent 10 minutes with us in which they made our child solve a puzzle," said Rachna Kumar (name changed), whose four-year-old daughter Ritika suffers from autism spectrum disorder.
"It is extremely unfair to expect her to solve a puzzle. They then told us that she was unfit to be a part of the school and asked us to take her back to her old play school, claiming that they could not cater to her needs," Kumar added.
The Kumars are just one of the many sets of parents who have been subject to this trauma. With top schools denying them admission, parents have little choice but to turn to special schools.
Despite the child having a medical clearance, inclusive education remains a distant dream for parents.
"When the final list came out, her name wasn't in there. It is surprising because the government had banned schools from screening parents under the RTE Act. Despite having submitted a certificate to them from the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development, which states that she is fit for a mainstream school, our daughter was rejected," added Kumar.
Schools, however, say that there are several logistical issues, which need to be kept in mind before admitting these children.
"The child must not be in a situation where a school takes them in and they get neglected because the school can't cope with them. For example, with children who are autistic, schools may not be able to cope because it is an extremely challenging space. So schools may sometimes be apprehensive while admitting such children," said Ameeta Wattal, vice chairman, National Progressive Schools Council (NPSC).