The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Centre to explain its stand with regard to the neighbourhood criteria to admit students in nursery in private schools in the national capital and other parts of the country.
Justice Manmohan sought the response of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in the backdrop of the Delhi government's recent directive to private unaided schools to accept nursery admission forms based only on the neighbourhood or distance criteria.
"See, your (Centre's) policy has to be implemented all over India. These are questions you will have to answer to me.How you are going to implement the neighbourhood criteria must be clear to me. This kind of a policy has an all India impact," the judge said to the counsel for the ministry.
Advocate Amit Mahajan, appearing for MHRD, submitted that there is "no compulsion for the child's parents to seek admission only in a school in his/her neighbourhood". This prompted the judge to ask Mahajan if it is not so, then the parents in Delhi can also apply in schools of their choice.
The court, however, asked the counsel to take instructions on this aspect and inform it on Tuesday.
It, meanwhile, also directed the Delhi government to show it the copy of allotment letters to schools on the basis of which neighbourhood criteria was imposed. The court was hearing pleas by parents and two school groups challenging the Delhi government's December 19, 2016 and January 7 notifications that made 298 private schools, built on Delhi Development Authority land, to accept nursery admission forms based only on the neighbourhood criteria.
The two school groups -- Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education -- and parents have contended that these circulars are bad in law and have curtailed their fundamental rights.
The court, however, by way of an interim order had allowed the parents to fill up the application forms for the various schools based on the criteria set by them as well as the Delhi government.
Later, it had also stayed the government's notification asking private minority unaided schools to accept nursery admission forms using neighbourhood criteria.