Delhi High Court on Monday asked the AAP government where it got the power to fix an upper age limit for admission to entry-level classes in private unaided schools at four years.
“From where are you getting the power to fix the maximum age,” Justice Manmohan asked while also observing that the Delhi government’s notification, by which the upper limit was fixed, did not appear to have a legal sanctity as it was not issued by the Lt Governor or under any statute.
“The 2007 order (on admission procedure of private unaided schools) was issued by the LG. Your notification does not have any legal sanctity. Where is it coming from, I do not know. Only the administrator (LG) can issue the notification.
How can you overcome a statutory order of 2007 by an executive order,” the judge asked. The 2007 order issued by the LG gives freedom to private unaided recognised schools to frame their own guidelines for nursery admissions.
The court was also of the view that the notification had taken away the flexibility and discretion that a child or his or her parents had about when to send the kid to school and added there cannot be a “straight-jacket formula” for such a “complicated” issue.
It also opined that the government’s December 18, 2015, decision took everyone by surprise as parents did not get time to plan their affairs regarding their kids’ education.
On these issues, the government contended that the decision was taken on the basis of a panel of experts, who were principals of leading schools. The directorate of education (DoE) said the flexibility under the statute, which only provides a minimum age for admission into class one, has not been taken away and only a measure of certainty has been brought in.
It also said that by a 2001 order, the power to issue the notification has been delegated to the respective minister and from him to the concerned departmental official.
Justice Manmohan, however, was not satisfied with the government’s arguments and said the issues required a larger debate and as last date of application process was February 5, he would issue interim orders on Tuesday.
It also asked the government to inform it on Tuesday whether the notification would apply to minority institutions as well. The court was hearing a number of pleas by minors, filed through their counsel Akhil Sachar, challenging the government’s December 18, 2015 order fixing the maximum age for nursery in private unaided schools at four years.
Read more: Nursery admission norms leave many fuming