The Delhi high court on Monday told the AAP government to “set its house in order”, asking it to improve the “poor state” of public schools before trying to “take over” the admission process in private unaided ones.
“There is a rush in private schools because the standard is not good in public schools… No one is addressing that issue. Those people who can’t administer a public school are trying to take over admissions of private schools. Set your house in order,” justice Manmohan said.
His observation came while issuing a notice to the Delhi government, asking it to respond to petitions by private schools who seek quashing of the government’s January 6 order that scrapped 62 criteria, including management quota, for nursery admissions which began January 1.
The court said the government cannot take away the “autonomy of private schools” by an office order which has not been passed under any statutory provision.
It, however, clarified that parents can for now apply as per the 62 criteria, but “scrutiny of applications would be subject to final orders”.
The court also reminded the government that it was asked to amend the statute last November immediately after the HC scrapped a point-based system to nursery admissions in private unaided schools devised by the lieutenant governor. “But you do nothing and come out with another office order. Why do you (government) do it at the last moment,” it said.
Defending the delay, the government said it had asked schools to disclose the criteria by December 8 but many did not adhere to the deadline. The court directed the government to file its response in a week and listed the matter for hearing on January 28.
The January 6 circular has been challenged by the Forum for Promotion of Quality Education and the Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools (ACURPS) on the ground that it was “absolutely without jurisdiction and contrary to and violative of various judgments passed by the Supreme Court as well as by various benches of the high court, relating to the autonomy of private unaided schools to regulate their admissions”.