New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to pass an interim order staying its single judge bench verdict quashing the points system for nursery admission brought in by the Lieutenant Governor (LG) for private unaided schools here.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw said the issue requires detailed consideration, so it will hear the interim application for stay against the operation of its single judge order along with the main appeal tomorrow.
"We will not stay the order today. It is a matter which requires consideration, so we will hear it in detail tomorrow," it said.
The court also questioned whether there is "any material available which shows that it is applicable to this academic year".
Replying to the query, senior advocate PP Malhotra, appearing for the Delhi government's Directorate of Education, said, "It has implication for this year."
The single judge had passed the order on November 28, this year while disposing of two petitions by a committee and a forum representing the private schools which had challenged the LG's December 18, 2013 and December 27, 2013 notifications by which the points system was introduced.
Contending that the order passed by the single judge is "totally wrong", "erroneous" and "against the law", the Delhi government's counsel said that the verdict has not appreciated the correct legal position and scheme of Article 21 (Protection of Life and Personal Liberty) and Article 21-A (Right to Education) of the Constitution besides laying undue emphasis on the right of schools.
"The judge erred to hold that if parents are given freedom to choose school, the good schools would attract more students and would expand and not-so-good schools would lose students," the petition said.
It contended that there cannot be any discrimination, question of autonomy in the matter of admitting children around three years of age in nursery.
"The judge has failed to consider that education is a paramount consideration for the welfare of the society and in this, there are several participants...Quash and set aside the impugned judgement dated November 28 with all consequential benefits and reliefs," the government had pleaded to the court.
An NGO has also moved the High Court against the single bench order on the ground that the judge has erred in law in not appreciating the arguments that there is no question of schools' autonomy in the matter of admissions of tiny tots.
Under the earlier system, 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 points if it is an inter-state transfer case.
Draw of lots were held at each point level. Thereafter, the government had on February 27 issued an order abolishing the five points that were being awarded in inter-state transfer cases.
The single judge had said the private unaided schools have the fundamental right to "maximum autonomy in day-to-day administration, including right to admit students".
The court had also said that "children should have the option to go to a neighbourhood school, but their choice cannot be restricted to a school in their locality".
"This court is unable to appreciate that a student's educational fate can be relegated to his position on a map," Justice Manmohan had said in his 69-page judgement.
The court was also of the opinion that the "neighbourhood concept was better taken care of by private unaided schools both in terms of guidelines laid down in the Ganguly Committee report as well as under the earlier admission order of 2007...".