The Centre on Wednesday informed the Delhi high court that the Right to Education (RTE) Act is not applicable to nursery admissions and the city government can make its own policies for such admissions.
Appearing for the central government, additional solicitor general (ASG) Rajeeve Mehra told the court that as per section 13 of the RTE Act, children aged between 6 and 14 years come under free and compulsory elementary education.
He said children below 6 years do not come under the act, but "state government may make necessary arrangement for providing free pre-school education for such children".
A division bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice VK Jain said the it will pass the order next week after going through the reply of the Centre.
The bench on Tuesday asked the central government to clarify whether the RTE Act applied to nursery admissions and if it did, what procedure was to be followed for it.
Mehra also said that RTE Act stipulates that a child, between the age group of 6 and 14, would be treated as a child covered under the legislation and hence, the nursery admission would not under its purview.
Filling its reply, Vikram Sahay, director of HRD ministry "under section 12 (1) (c) of the Act, schools can admit in class 1, 25 per cent of the strength of the class, children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood and provide free and compulsory elementary education till its completion.
"Section 13 of the RTE Act governs the admission for children between the age of 6 to 14 years in elementary education...
"The state government may have its own policies governing admissions in pre-primary class," it added.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Social Jurist against the two notifications of the Union HRD ministry and the Delhi government's directorate of education, empowering unaided private schools to formulate their own nursery admission criteria.
The NGO's counsel Ashok Agarwal alleged that these two notifications had given a free hand to all unaided recognised private schools.