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Delhi HC upholds Nursery Admissions judgment; dismisses AAP govt’s appeal

Nalini Sharma

The division bench of the Delhi High Court today dismissed the State government’s appeal in the controversy surrounding the nursery school admissions.

The bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal dismissed the government’s appeal against the single judge order quashing the notification compelling 298 private schools, built on public land, to admit students on the basis of the “neighbourhood criteria”.

By this criteria, children residing within radii of 1 kilometer and 3 kilometers from the school were given preference during the time of admissions.

Earlier this month, Justice Manmohan had quashed the notification, stating that the notification dated January 7 was “arbitrary, discriminatory and contrary to public interest”.

Stating that the impugned notification enured to the benefit of certain parents and children, Justice Manmohan observed,

“This Court is of the prima facie opinion that the impugned Notification dated 07th January, 2017 is arbitrary and discriminatory as it enures to the benefit of parents and children who stay in the immediate vicinity of good private unaided schools to whom the Notification applies inasmuch as such parents and children would have the benefit of both the category of schools i.e., those in their immediate neighbourhood and those schools which do not have the neighbourhood clause.”

The matter came up before the two-judge bench against this decision of the single judge.

While the Forum for Promotion of Quality Education for All was represented by Senior Advocate Sunil Gupta, the Aam Aadmi Party government was represented by ASG Sanjay Jain.

Appealing against single judge order, Jain had argued that the “neighbourhood criteria” was already a part of the Delhi Schools Education Act and Rules, 1973 and that it was only a question of implementation.

Jain also argued that one of the major contentions of the schools before the single judge was that the “neighbourhood criteria” was not defined anywhere, which was taken care of in the impugned notification.

The bench had refused to grant a stay on the single judge’s order when the appeal first came up for hearing but had shown its inclination in hearing the arguments. The bench had then reserved the judgment last week on Wednesday stating that the decision will be pronounced before the admission process begins.

Concurring with the single judge’s verdict, the appeal was dismissed today.

Story to be updated.

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