A Writ Petition has been moved in the Delhi High Court against the action of Delhi Government to refuse the admission of the petitioner (Shekh Habibul) in Class XI in the academic year 2020-21 in a Government School, on the alleged ground that petitioner has crossed the age limit stipulated vide Circular dated 19.09.2016 bearing no. DE. 23(363)/ Sch. Br./2016/1553 (issued by the Delhi Government).
The Petition has been moved by the Petitioner/Student, one Sheikh Habibul through Advocates Ashok Agarwal & Kumar Utkarsh.
It has been alleged in the Petition that the action of the Delhi Government violates the Fundamental Right to Education as guaranteed to the Petitioner under Articles 21 and 21A of the Constitution of India read with Delhi School Education Act, 1973 and Rules framed thereunder.
The Writ Petition also challenges the legal and the constitutional validity of the said Circular dated 19.09.2016 bearing no. DE. 23(363)/Sch.Br./2016/1553 (issued by the Delhi Government).
It has been argued that the Delhi Government has; vide the said Circular, without any justifiable rationale and basis, erroneously laid down the age criteria for non-plan admissions in Government Schools, seeking direct admission, in all classes up to Class XII for the academic session 2020-21.
The said Circular inter alia provides that only those students, who have attained the age of 15 years but are less than 17 years, shall be granted direct admission in Class XI.
The said Circular further provides that the age criteria laid down therein will not be applicable to Plan Admissions i.e. the existing students of Government Schools. It is to be noted that petitioner case is of non-plan admission and he has no gap.
On 31.03.2020, the Petitioner Shekh Habibul was 18 years 06 month and 13 days old and he was forced to leave his private school due to financial constraints during the pandemic.
He was studying in K.D. Model School at Bawana Road in Barwala since Class II. He passed his Class X CBSE examinations earlier this year.
Further, it has been submitted that from September first week itself, the petitioner has been trying to get admission in Delhi Government School, namely, Government Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Prahalad Pur Delhi- 110042 under non-plan admission.
It is also submitted that the petitioner has personally visited the school several times and has also applied for admission in class XI through online mode under non-plan admission for academic session 2020-21 which was not accepted by the website due to reason not known.
That petitioner submits that when the respondent school denied admission to him, he visited Directorate of Education office and wrote a mail to Chief Minister also but all in vain as the petitioner has been suggested to opt for admission in correspondence/ Patrachar by the officers due.
It has also been submitted that the respondent school as well as Directorate of Education office has verbally informed the petitioner that the petitioner cannot be granted admission in class XI in any of the respondent Government school on the ground of ineligibility of overage in terms of the Circular dated 19.09.2016 issued by the respondent Government impugned herein.
It has been submitted that there is no justification on part of the respondent Government school to deny admission to petitioner on the alleged ground of his overage.
It has been contended in the plea that the Circular in question (of the Delhi Government) is utterly violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India for being devoid of any justifiable rationale to classify between children seeking admission to same standard.
It has been submitted that respondent Government vide the said Circular has fixed the age criteria for admission to various classes, however differently for students who seek admission in its schools after leaving the previous private schools where they were earlier studying inter alia on account of inability to pay hiked fees, migration to Delhi from other states etc. referred to as Non-Plan Admissions as opposed to Plan Admissions i.e. the students already studying in the schools of the Delhi Government.
Further, it has been pleaded that the students of latter category (students presently studying in Government Schools) are entitled to admission/promotion in the next class despite not fulfilling the said age criteria but no student of former category (who are migrating to Government Schools) can get direct admission if they do not satisfy the age criteria fixed in the said Circular.
The impugned Circular is, as argued by the petitioner, unreasonable and unconstitutional and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India in as much as it causes discrimination among similarly placed students equally entitled to the Fundamental and human right to education as guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
It has been maintained in the plea that the Delhi Government has erroneously misconstrued Section 4 of the RTE Act and read a restriction in the said section which does not exist. Section 4 or any other provision of the RTE Act does not prescribe any maximum age to be admitted in any class.
Thus, it has been argued that the restriction on admission imposed by the Delhi Government merely because of the age of a child is above the age of children who have already received such education is completely irreconcilable with the object sought to be achieved by the insertion of Article 21A in the Constitution of India and enforcement of the RTE Act.
In the premise aforesaid, the petitioner has prayed before the Court that:-
i) The Circular dated 19.09.2016 bearing no. DE. 23(363)/Sch.Br./2016/1553 issued by Delhi Government be quashed as it is arbitrary, discriminatory, illegal and violative of Articles 14, 21 and 21A of the Constitution of India and for being in conflict with the provisions of the Delhi School Education Act, 1973;
ii) A writ of mandamus and certiorari or any other appropriate writ or directions be passed, thereby directing the respondents to grant admission to the petitioner, namely, Sheikh Habibulin Class XI in the academic year 2020- 21 in Respondent No. 2 School or in any of the respondent Government schools near his residence.
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