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Court restrains government on quota order for schools

20% seats reserved in St. Columba's School

In a boost to unaided private schools, Delhi High Court Wednesday stayed a Delhi government order reserving 20 percent seats in St. Columba's School for students belonging to economically weaker sections, saying it was done without proper consideration. Justice Manmohan passed an interim order staying the government notification, which he said "has been passed without application of mind". St. Columba's, one of the capital's leading schools, moved the high court challenging the Dec 18 notification of Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, saying the Supreme Court had excluded minority schools from the ambit of the Right to Education Act. Jung himself is an alumnus of St. Columba's.

The apex court held April 12, 2012 that the act would not apply to unaided minority schools and imposing a quota for children from poor families on such schools violated article 30 of the constitution. On Dec 18, Judge ordered all the schools in Delhi, including minority schools, which got land from the government, to also admit 20 percent children from the weaker sections in the neighbourhood.

Delhi government counsel Zubeda Begum told the court that in 1966 land was given to the school on concessional basis so that they kept 20 percent of their seats to the economically weaker sections. The association of unaided private schools has also moved the high court challenging the Delhi government notification. It has called the order "absolutely illegal, arbitrary and without jurisdiction".

IANS

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