The city may be staring at nursery admission chaos yet again after the Delhi government exempted three children from the four-year age bar and the high court said other aggrieved by the age notification were free to approach it.
Hearing a bunch of petitions against the December 18 notification fixing the maximum age for nursery in private schools at four years, the court refused to interfere with the Kejriwal government’s decision. But, justice Manmohan said children or parents could seek relief before the last date of submitting applications, which is February 5.
The court’s observation came after the Delhi government agreed to exempt Uday Pratap Singh Kapoor, Samridhi Singh and Kamakshi M Prakaash, who had challenged the age-bar notification. The government didn’t want the exemption to be “precedent for others” but the court disagreed.
“Those who come, we will look into their grievances. I cannot close the issue. If tomorrow someone else comes, I will have to hear them. Law has to be applied equally. I cannot say that I will not entertain if others come,” justice Manmohan said.
Social activist and advocate Ashok Aggarwal objected to the court’s move, saying the order must be applied equally to other children even if they had not approached it.
The admission process, which began on January 1, concludes March 31 with classes expected to begin in first week of April. The first list of successful candidates will be out on February 15.
Nursery admissions are cause of a great deal of anxiety for parents. Around 150,000 aspirants vie for 125,000 seats every year. The fight is to get into the top 100 of 1,300 private schools in the city.
Tuesday’s order may force many children and their parents to individually approach the HC.
This is likely to create confusion in the admission process that gets caught in litigation almost every year with parents or schools or both taking the department of education (DoE) to court.
The DoE’s circular fixed the upper age limit for admission in entry level classes at four for pre-school, five for pre-primary and six for Class 1 on March 31 of the year the admission is sought.
The HC order may lead to another round of litigation, Aggarwal said. It would affect poor parents who cannot afford to move court.