The Directorate of Education on Tuesday informed the Delhi High Court that the direction to reserve nursery seats in private-unaided schools for children with special needs could not be implemented in the current academic year as the Supreme Court had earlier this month ordered that no changes be made to the points system for this year.
The parent of a child with special needs had filed the plea alleging that the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act (PWDA) were being ignored in the current points system for nursery admission — there was no reservation for children with disabilities.
The High Court then issued a notice to the Delhi government directing it to ensure that at least 2-3 seats are kept reserved in those private schools, which have the facilities to cater to such children.
However, the government failed to notify this, inviting a contempt notice against Principal Secretary (Education).
The DoE on Tuesday submitted to the court that it had complied with the court’s order to issue a notification to the 15 private unaided schools, which had been identified by the petitioner and verified by the DoE as having adequate facilities to cater to children with disabilities, to reserve two seats for such children this year.
Though the court had directed the DoE to issue the circular on May 7, it did so only on Monday.
The government had claimed that the delay in issuing the circular was because there were no “satisfactory finding by the team inspecting the facilities available in private schools”.
“For proper benefit of children, it was also thought that the government should come out with a comprehensive policy after taking inputs from experts dealing with disabled children and, thereafter, the schools can be dictated to follow the same,” the DoE told the court.
The affidavit further stated that the DoE, despite its best efforts, had not been able to ascertain if any other school had adequate facilities - no school had filed any affidavit listing out the facilities available in each one of them.
On Tuesday, the court of Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued notice to 51 private schools in the city to file affidavits stating the facilities available in each of them to educate children with special needs.
The court also refused the government’s request to quash the contempt petition, stating that the contempt case “will be kept alive” till the circular issued by the DoE is implemented and