Additional solicitor general says DoE decision ‘pro-child’ and ‘not arbitrary’.
New Delhi: In the ongoing nursery admission hearing, additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain told the Delhi high court on Tuesday that there might be many people who don’t want to send their girl child to far away schools in the city. The arguments from the governments side are expected to continue on the litigation pertaining to the neighbourhood criteria in the nursery admission guidelines. It was argued that if the neighbourhood criteria is relevant for admitting poor and disadvantaged children in nursery, then it cannot be irrelevant or irrational to apply the same to other kids of same age group.
The submission was made before Justice Manmohan after the court said under Right to Education (RTE) Act neighbourhood criteria was relatable to the 25 per cent children from economically weaker section and disadvantaged groups, but not to the remaining 75 per cent.
The court also said if the neighbourhood criteria was accepted then by “logical extension” it can be stated that children living in South Delhi cannot take admission in colleges in the North Campus, and questioned from where the government got the power to impose this condition.
“The power is being tested. I am not finding any provision in RTE which provides such a power,” the judge said. Appearing for the DoE of the Delhi government, Mr Jain said there is a difference between nursery children and college-going students.
If the statute allows neighbourhood criteria for poor children, then it can be made applicable to others also as no distinction is drawn between the kids, he added
“Distinction is drawn between the parents. If tomorrow the financial position of the parents of a kid improves then he or she will not get benefit of EWS category,” the ASG said. He said that the DoE’s decision was “pro-child” and “not arbitrary” and was guided by the RTE Act.
“Neighbourhood criteria is ingrained in the very first step of opening of a school,” the senior lawyer said, while concluding arguments for the day.
The court was hearing pleas challenging the AAP government’s recent order to private unaided schools on DDA land to admit children in nursery class using the neighbourhood norm.