“Why do you bring out notification at the eleventh hour? : Delhi High Court to government.
In Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) allotment letters to private unaided schools, a condition had been put forward – they had to reserve 75% of the seats for students in the neighbourhood. Admissions in schools on DDA land had been restricted after the two circulars of December 19, 2016 and January 7, 2017 were enforced. Along with the concerned schools, a few parents had also approached the high court against the new move.
The Delhi government had earlier said that the distance criteria was a "priority gradation system" where first preference would be given to children living within 1 Km and next preference would be given to those living within 1-3 Km and then, subject to vacancy, to children living beyond 6 Kms. During yesterday’s hearing, the government said that it could extend the dates beyond January 31 for the admission process.
The court has said that the government cannot force such institutions to follow the January 7 notification as it was prima facie "contrary to the constitutional mandate"."Why do you (government) bring out notification at the eleventh hour?" Justice Manmohan asked.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, representing the Directorate of Education (DoE), had told the court that minority schools could decide matters on admission and that the neighbourhood criteria could be applied to the seats remaining after admitting the minority students.
Justice Manmohan stated that he is prima facie inclined to grant a complete stay as far as minority schools are concerned. The bench has said that even in RTE Act, the constitution bench has said that it will not apply to minority institutions and that the “neighbourhood criteria” which claims to be for public interest should not alienate minorities.
The court has decided to follow a strict time frame and listed the matter for hearing today. The court has impleaded the Centre as a party in the matter and asked DDA and Land and Development Office (N&DO) to clarify their stand on the neighbourhood issue.