6 Sep 2022 5:30 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has issued notice on a public interest litigation challenging a scheme notified by the Delhi Government for awarding reimbursement of tuition fees and other compulsory fees to students belonging to minority communities, studying between classes I to XII in city's recognized public schools.A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and...
The Delhi High Court has issued notice on a public interest litigation challenging a scheme notified by the Delhi Government for awarding reimbursement of tuition fees and other compulsory fees to students belonging to minority communities, studying between classes I to XII in city's recognized public schools.
A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad sought response of Delhi Government, its Directorate of Education and Delhi Minorities Commission.
The PIL has been moved by a Chartered Accountant, Avinash Malhotra, represented through Advocates Awantika Manohar and Dhawesh Pahuja.
As per the impugned scheme, minorities students with family income below Rs. 3 Lakh per annum are eligible for obtaining reimbursement of tuition fees and other compulsory fees in recognized public schools in Delhi.
It is the petitioner's case that the policy is violative of Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India, insofar as it does not extend the benefits to all students from low-income families.
It has been argued that as per the impugned scheme for reimbursement is only available for students belonging to minority communities and persons who belong to families with lower levels of income are excluded solely on the grounds of their religion and caste.
"It does conform with either Article 15(4) or 15(6) of the Constitution of India. It is contended that there has been no quantifiable data to justify this reservation solely for all minorities students, and discriminates against those persons whose family income is below Rs. 3.00 Lakhs which are not from minority communities which is not permissible without quantifiable data," the plea reads.
Furthermore, the plea states that by only extending benefits of the scheme to persons belonging to minority communities, having a family income below Rs. 3 Lakhs per annum, the said policy does not conform with the enabling provision of Article 15(6).
"If Reimbursement of fees is provided to all people who belong to low-income families, the policy would fall within the enabling provision which is Article 15(6). If however the same is not economically feasible for the Respondents, they would have no choice but to recall the impugned policy as the same does not fall within the four corners of the enabling provision found in Article 15," the plea avers.
It adds "Because under the current policy, a student belonging to a minority community who has annual family income of Rs. 2,95,000 will be eligible for a refund of tuition fees, but a student with an annual family income of Rs. 1,00,000, who does not belong to a minority community will not be entitled to refund. It is contended that this makes the policy unjust, and manifestly arbitrary."
The plea thus seeks striking down of the impugned policy insofar as it uses the word 'minorities' and also seeks a direction on the Delhi Government to provide policy's benefit to all low income households, who would benefit from the policy if it had not been limited to minorities.
The matter will now be heard on December 13.
Case Title: AVINASH MEHROTRA v. GOVERNMENT OF NCT OF DELHI & ORS