Nursery admissions in a bind once again, Supreme Court stays HC order

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 12 2014, 03:05am hrs
Nursery admissions were put on hold again in Delhi schools with the Supreme Court today staying last week's Delhi High Court order allowing its resumption, bringing another spell of uncertainty and worries to hundreds of parents.

A bench of justices H L Dattu and S A Bobde put a halt on the operation of the High Court's April 3 interim order directing that those children who applied and were selected in draw of lots for neighbourhood and other categories, be admitted.

The apex court passed the order on the appeal filed by those parents who had come to the national capital from other places of the country and had sought admission under the inter-state transfer (IST) category which was deleted during the admission process by the Delhi government owing to its abuse on a large scale.

Senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta, appearing for the IST category parents, explained that as a result of the Delhi government decision of February 27, his clients had to vacate the seats alloted to them after they were successful in draw of lots held as per earlier guidelines for admission.

The high court, however, had not passed an order regarding the fate of the seats vacated by the IST category and had deferred the issue till April 16, the next date of hearing.

Challenging the High Courtorder, Gupta contended that though their issue is yet to be decided, but their fate has been "virtually sealed" as seats that had been vacated by them will now be alloted to other 75 pointers i.e those falling in alumni category.

Earlier, those in IST category also had 75 points.

Gupta argued that the High Court's order was in violation of the basic principles of equality as enunciated under Article 14 of the Constitution, as all the neighbourhood category kids (having 70 points) will be admitted as per their selection in earlier draws, while the admission of IST group, also relegated to 70 points, is yet to be decided.

"The result of the impugned order (of April 3) is that the petitioners will not even be considered for approximately 60 per cent seats taken by the 70 pointers pursuant to the December 18, 2013 notification," Gupta said.

The petitioners have also challenged the February 27 notification, by which the IST category was scrapped, saying the basis for making a change in criteria was illegal as the the purported reason for the same was that a number of fake applications had been submitted by people claiming transfer points.

As per the earlier point system for nursery admissions, out of a total 100 points, 70 were given if the child lives in the neighbourhood of the school, additional 20 were given if a sibling is studying there, five points more if either parent is an alumni and another five if it is an IST case.

After the Lt Governor had on February 27 ordered deletion of the IST category, it was challenged in the High Court which on March 6 directed that fresh draw of lots be held for all people having 70 points i.e neighbourhood category, even those already successful in earlier draws.

The court passed the order, saying equally placed kids should be treated equally.

The March 6 order of the single-judge, was challenged before a division bench of the high court by the parents of kids falling in the neighbourhood category.

The March 6 order was also challenged by the IST category parents, who wanted restitution of their category as well as upholding of the draw of lots held prior to the February 27 notification, as they were successful in those draws.

The High Court had, thereafter, on March 12 stayed the fresh draw of lots ordered by its single judge and had also put on hold the entire nursery admission process.

On April 3, the High Court had lifted its stay on nursery admissions and ordered its resumption with certain directions, including kids selected in draw of lots under neighbourhood criteria will get admission.

The court had also clarified that children, who emerged winner in the draw of lots in more than one school, "shall choose one school and will have to relinquish other seats on or before April 9. Otherwise, they shall lose the right of admission in any of them."

It had also clarified that till the next date of hearing, no fresh draw of lots would be held.