To end the nursery admission logjam, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Delhi government to explore if more seats — five or six — could be created to accommodate children under the inter-state transfer category that is being bitterly fought over.
The court came down hard on the Delhi government for changing the guidelines after the admission process had begun. The government’s various notifications have been caught in a web of litigations, prolonging parents’ agony and uncertainty.
A bench headed by justice HL Dattu, however, made it clear that the increase in seats would be an exception, meant only for this year. The department of education (DoE) has to reply by Tuesday.
“Take the schools into confidence. Speak to their association and get back to us. If they don’t listen to you, then we will give order … you cannot change the rules of the game midway,” justice Dattu told DoE’s counsel.
The court had on April 11 stayed the admission process that has seen an unprecedented delay, with children losing a number of school days.
The court took strong exception to the DoE changing the entire criteria spelt out in the first notification issued in December. “How could you alter it all of a sudden? We protected your policy by upholding the first notification.”
The government’s February 27 notification scrapping inter-state transfer (IST) category under which students whose parents shift to Delhi from other states could seek admissions came under fire. The court was hearing a petition by parents whose children weren’t considered for admission after the notification though they had participated in the draw of lots.
The Delhi high court had on the April 3 allowed schools to only admit students qualifying the alumni, sibling and neighbourhood categories.
Inter-state students had secured 75 points, putting them ahead of the neighbourhood-category children.
The December 18 guidelines that followed 95-point process made it mandatory for children to be living within 8 km of school to be considered for admission and assigned 70 points to the category. Those with siblings in the same school were awarded 20 points and five points if a parent of parents were alumni. Five points were for interstate transfer.
Petitioners’ counsel senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta said the two grounds -- fake transfer cases and IST category children claiming half of the open seats -- on which the category was scrapped were incorrect. Citing DoE’s data, he said transfer children occupied just 8% of the seats while 2,209 cases were found to be fake.