New Delhi: The High Court today stayed an order by the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi scrapping management quota in nursery admissions in private unaided schools, saying the decision was taken without the authority of law.
The Delhi HC also stayed the government's January 6 order with regard to 11 other admission criteria, including issues like proven track record of parents during admission of their children, music and sports, that were also scrapped.
Justice Manmohan in his interim order said that the government's January 6 decision was also in contravention of the Lieutenant Governor's 2007 order on nursery admissions in private unaided schools.
The Delhi government by its January 6 order had scrapped 62 "arbitrary and discriminatory" criteria listed by schools on their websites for admissions, but retained the 25 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
The court said the autonomy of private unaided schools with regard to nursery admissions cannot be restricted by an office order and has to be done under the law. However, it added that if there were any malpractices with regard to nursery admission criteria in private unaided schools, then they should be investigated and taken to their logical conclusion.
The court, however, clarified that the observations made and the view taken by it are only "prima facie" and not final.
The High Court was hearing pleas filed by Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education For All, seeking quashing of AAP government's decision to scrap management and all other quotas, except for EWS in Delhi's private unaided schools for nursery admissions.
They had claimed that the order was "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".
In an earlier hearing, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had defended his government's decision to scrap the quota criteria, alleging that private unaided schools in the national capital had become a "hub of corruption" as they were running "admission rackets" under the garb of management quota.
After the HC judgement, Sisodia said that efforts to bring transparency to the process of admissions in private schools will continue. “Respect the verdict of the court. Efforts to stop arbitrariness in admissions and fees at private schools and bring in transparency will continue. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure easy access to good education for the children of Delhi. We will appeal against this decision,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)