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Nursery admission: Plea in HC against quashing of LG's guidelines

New Delhi, December 2: An appeal was filed Monday in the Delhi High Court, challenging the decision of a single judge bench to quash the Lt. Governor's guidelines of last year on nursery admissions in unaided private schools in the capital. NGO Social Jurist filed the appeal against the order which quashed the guidelines issued by Delhi's Lt. Governor and said the neighbourhood, sibling, and alumni criteria set as per the notification will go.

Schools can now set their own criteria according to the 2007 Ganguly Committee guidelines. Justice Manmohan Nov 28 quashed the points system, saying it was a "violation of the fundamental rights of the school management". He said the guidelines were a violation of the fundamental rights of the school management to have maximum autonomy in day-to-day administration, including the right to admit students.

Nursery admission: Plea in HC against LG

On Dec 18, 2013, the Lt. Governor issued guidelines after which a number of petitions were filed against them. The guidelines outlined several criteria, including the neighbourhood factor, which sought that schools give preference to children living within a radius of eight km from it. This criterion was given the maximum weightage of 70 points out of 100 in open category seats.

Other criteria were - siblings studying in the same school (20 points), applications of girls (five points), and wards of school alumni (five points). The appeal filed through advocates Ashok Agarwal and Khagesh Jha said there was no question of schools' autonomy in the matter of admissions of tiny tots. It said the guidelines were child-centric and deserved to be upheld by law.

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The plea said the Gauguly Committee's report became irrelevant after the enactment of the Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, which prohibits screening procedure for admission of children at elementary level in schools. "In view of the fact that the Supreme Court in its verdict has upheld the validity of Section 13 of the RTE Act, 2008, which prohibits screening procedure, there is no question of autonomy of the schools in the matter of admission of tiny tots," the plea said.

"The single judge failed to appreciate that the impugned office orders had been issued to give effect to the right to education of children belonging to tender age as they could not be expected to travel long distances to their schools, as the same would not only affect their health but would also put additional burden on them, which would ultimately affect their studies," the plea said.

"Right to study in a safe school is a part of the fundamental right of children and the fundamental right to education of children belonging to tender age also included the right to study in a neighbourhood." The single judge bench quashing the Lt. Governor's guidelines had said the power to decide the school for a child should lie with the parents and not with the government. The court had said it nowhere stipulates that "children would have to take admission only in a neighbourhood school or that children cannot take admissions in schools situated beyond their neighbourhood".

IANS

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