Delhi High Court: In one of the most sought cases , the Court, giving the ruling in favour of the unaided private schools regarding the autonomy in the nursery admissions, held that private unaided recognized school managements have a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution to maximum autonomy in the day-to-day administration including the right to admit students.The court presided by Justice Manmohan said that the concept of autonomy has also been recognized and conferred upon schools by the Delhi School Education(DSE) Act and Rules, 1973 and that Rule 145 of DSE Rules, 1973 states that the head of every recognised unaided school shall regulate admissions in its school.
The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has directed that seventy five per cent nursery students, i.e., after excluding twenty five per cent seats reserved for economically weaker section, shall be admitted on the following basis:-
1) 70 marks for neighbourhood ;
2) 20 marks for siblings;
3) 5 marks for parent /alumni; and
4) 5 marks for inter-state transfers.
Sunil Gupta with Vedanta Varma, the counsel for the petitioner, argued that the executive order was arbitrary and against public interest and also contrary to the principles of autonomy laid down in T.M.A. Pai Foundation and others vs.State of Karnataka. He further added that by a blind adherence to the neighbourhood rule and that too, for an exaggerated quantum of seventy points, the respondent in one stroke had destroyed the reasonableness and collective wisdom of all previous orders.
P.P. Malhotra, who argued from respondant side, contended that under Section 3 and 45 of DSE Act, 1973, the administrator had wide powers to administer and regulate the education system but his argument was not accepted by the court. The court further added that children below six years have a fundamental right to education and health as also a right to choose a school under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution in which they wish to study. Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 prescribes duty upon the State to ensure availability of neighbourhood schools. It nowhere stipulates that children would have to take admission only in a neighbourhood school or that children cannot take admissions in schools situated beyond their neighbourhood. The court said that the power to choose a school primarily vests in the parents and not in the administration.(Forum for Promotion of Quality Education for All vs. Lt. Governor of Delhi, 2014 SCC OnLine Del 6650, decided on 28.11.2014)