Silly litigation, raise nursery seats: SC

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 29 2014, 20:53pm hrs
A day after the new Chief Justice of India R M Lodha assured that the nursery admission issue will be given top priority, the Supreme Court on Monday stepped forward to resolve the imbroglio arising out of what it called a silly litigation.

The court asked the Delhi Lt-Governor to consider increasing around 5-7 seats in every school of the city to enable all the eligible children, including those who had applied under the Inter-State Transfer (IST) quota, to have a place in schools.

Admissions to nursery classes were stalled by the Supreme Court on April 11 after some parents challenged a February 27 notification scrapping the IST quota. Following this, the Delhi High Court issued its go-ahead for admissions without considering the IST quota applicants.

A bench led by Justice H L Dattu asked the counsel for the Delhi government to have a deliberation with the L-G and come back on Tuesday with an answer on increasing seats in each school for this year as a one-time measure.

The court said the authorities should strive to take private schools into confidence too after government counsel Raju Ramachandran contended that the apex court will have to ultimately pass the order on increasing seats since the government had only limited control over private schools. The bench observed it was open to passing orders in the interest of children.

Justifying its stay order, the bench said while it knew that the admission process will turn upside down because of its order, it had to be done as the HC had put a clock and some of the children could never get admissions.

Instead of you people going up and down in all the courts and the parents spending so much of money for a silly litigation like this, why dont you try increasing seats in every school... talk with his Excellency if such a concession can be made for this year, it said.

The SC also questioned the validity and the rationale of the February 27 notification by which the IST quota was scrapped.

It asked the government what prompted it to come out with this notification once the admission process had already begun and selection lists had also been drawn up by schools.

The court said, How can you change the rules of the game after they have come into play You cannot change the rules of the game midway. In the name of improving the situation, you have put the whole thing into bigger problem. We understand if the High Court passed any order, but how could you do it on your own

On IST quota, the bench reminded the government that it had prima facie found favour with the earlier notification when it refused to stay the admission process on a vehement appeal by the private schools, since it wanted to protect the interests of children and the policy of the government.

They (transferred parents) have a disadvantage. They have come from a different place and unless some concession is made, their wards will not get a chance to study here. You came out with a wonderful policy for transfer cases and we sustained it on our own. We understand filtering cases to ascertain which are genuine and which are not, but your new notification has created more problems now, it observed.