New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed a city government notification that made it mandatory for private unaided minority schools to admit kids in nursery, in the unreserved category, on the basis of neighbourhood criteria.
Justice Manmohan said: "This court is of the prima facie view that minority schools are entitled to admit students in their own manner as long as there is no mismanagement."
While granting the interim stay, the court noted that the government cannot interfere in the day-to-day functioning of the minority schools including their right to administer and admit students.
The Delhi government on January 7, came out with a circular on nursery admission that mandated private unaided schools -- built on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land -- to accept admission forms based only on the neighbourhood or distance criteria.
As per the circular, the minority unaided schools were asked to treat unreserved seats as open/general seats in which admission would be conducted on the basis of neighbourhood criteria.
Three private unaided minority schools -- Mount Carmel School, Ryan International School and Somerville School -- approached the court against the circular saying it infringed their rights to admit students.
According to the schools counsel the order would benefit around 15 minority schools in the national capital. The court also slammed Delhi government's Department of Education (DoE) for coming out with notification at the eleventh hour".
The court advised the department to form an educational policy for nursery admission so that such changes in policy could be issued at least six months in advance.
"There is nothing on record to show why the notification was issued in the eleventh hour and not in advance... All this create anxiety for parents whose wards are to be admitted in the current academic year," said Justice Manmohan.
Meanwhile, with regard to the pleas filed by other unaided private schools, the court would continue to hear arguments from all parties on a day-to-day basis.