Policy by circulars not consistent: Delhi HC on nursery admissions

Delhi High Court on Thursday said there would be "no consistency" in a policy made by way of circulars or office orders, passed without statutory backing, as there could be new circular "every day".

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 28, 2016, 22:36 PM IST

New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Thursday said there would be "no consistency" in a policy made by way of circulars or office orders, passed without statutory backing, as there could be new circular "every day".

Justice Manmohan made the observation while hearing arguments on behalf of Delhi government and two associations representing private unaided schools, which have challenged the AAP administration's January 6 order scrapping 62 criteria, including management quota, in nursery admissions.

The court said as per the procedure under law, the January 6 notification should have been issued by the Lt Governor. Defending its decision, Delhi government said the LG worked on aid and advice of the council of ministers and in the instant case, the decision was taken by the cabinet. It also said that while private unaided schools have their autonomy, if they misuse it, the state will step in.

They do not have absolute autonomy, the government contended. It also said that by way of the notification, it did not prescribe any criteria, but only asked the private schools to adopt criteria which were fair, just and reasonable. Delhi government will continue arguments tomorrow.

Brief arguments were submitted on behalf of the private unaided schools which said the statute did not provide the government with powers to govern their functioning,especially with regard to admissions. So the same cannot be done by way of notifications. The private schools also said that parents flock to them due to the poor condition of government schools.

"The vacuum created by government schools and colleges not providing top-class education has been filled by the private schools," they said. In a recent affidavit, the Delhi government had defended its January 6 order saying the decision was taken to check "unfair and exploitative criteria" and prevent any discrimination against children in getting education in Delhi.

The decision has been challenged by Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education For All which claim to represent various private unaided schools. Terming the AAP government's order as illegal, they have said they were not trying to champion the cause of all the scrapped 62 criteria, barring a few like management quota.