New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the AAP government’s appeal against a single-bench order that restored the management quota in nursery admissions in private unaided schools. A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath refused an interim stay on the single judge order restoring the management quota.
Justice Manmohan, in an interim order on February 4, put on hold the city government’s January 6 circular that scrapped the management quota and 11 other criteria, saying the institutions were entitled to full autonomy in administration, including the right to admit students. In its appeal, the Aam Aadmi Party government argued that it took the decision “without any view to interfere in the autonomy of private unaided schools.
“The objective was not to deprive private unaided schools of their autonomy, but to ensure that admissions to entry-level classes are made in a fair, reasonable, rational, transparent and non-exploitative manner,” contended the Delhi government counsel. “There are widespread allegations that the management quota is being misused. There is no standard procedure followed in the management quota. There are no details by schools who are getting admissions under the quota,” the counsel said.
The education department was “fully empowered and competent in terms of the Delhi Schools Education Act and rules framed thereunder to issue the January 6 order”, he added. Terming the practice of granting admissions under the management quota “non-transparent and opaque”, the government said the intention behind the notification was to “prevent maladministration”.
The government said the practice of management quota was “deleterious” for school education’s development in Delhi and hence must be stopped, and also that it was “wholly non-transparent and susceptible to misuse”.
In its order, the court said that the January 6 order was passed “without any authority under law” or without the approval of Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, and was in conflict with the 2007 order (after recommendations of the Ganguly Committee) issued by the Lt. Governor, which accorded freedom to private unaided recognised schools to frame their own guidelines for nursery admissions.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on January 6 said the decision to scrap the management quota was taken to bring in more transparency in the admission process, while the existing provision of 25 percent seats for students from poor families would remain in place. Currently, the schools keep 20 percent or even more seats under the management quota, while 25 percent seats are reserved for students from the economically weaker sections. The rest is open for the general category.