5 Feb 2022 2:08 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court has observed that the purpose of admitting students to schools under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category is to ensure that students of the under-privileged strata of society get access to quality education as envisaged under Article 21A of the Constitution of India. Justice Rekha Palli was dealing with a petition moved by a private unaided and recognised...
The Delhi High Court has observed that the purpose of admitting students to schools under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category is to ensure that students of the under-privileged strata of society get access to quality education as envisaged under Article 21A of the Constitution of India.
Justice Rekha Palli was dealing with a petition moved by a private unaided and recognised school, assailling the order dated 17.01.2022 passed by the Directorate of Education of Delhi Government vide which the school's request for grant of exemption from admitting 25 students in the EWS category based on the permissible intake to the schools was rejected.
It was the case of the petitioner school that the impugned order was wholly perverse as it overlooked the fact that despite the best effort, the school was able to admit only 52 students in the General category and that it had correctly agreed to admit 18 students in EWS category.
An application was also filed by the petitioner school seeking stay of the operation of the impugned order as also the directions, during the pendency of the writ petition.
The petitioner counsel submitted that even though the school received 905 applications for admission, despite the best efforts including phone calls made by the teachers to the parents, only 52 students came forward to take admission in the general category.
It was submitted that the petitioner school did not deny admission to any student in the general category and therefore it cannot be faulted for the remaining seats being unfilled.
On the other hand, the respondent submitted that once it was evident that the petitioner school had the sufficient infrastructure, there was no explanation as to why it did not admit the requisite number of students and in March, 2021 itself, decided to reduce the number of seats offered from 152 in the past to 120 seats this year, out of which only 52 seats were filled.
"Having considered the submissions of the parties and perused the record, even though I am inclined to agree with the petitioner school that it is obligated to admit only 25% students vis-à-vis the number of number of students admitted in the general category, the issue in the present matter is whether the action of the petitioner to fill only 52 seats in the general category as against the much higher number of available seats is bona fide or not," the Court said.
It added "In my considered opinion, what must be kept in mind while considering the present application, is that the purpose of admitting the students to such schools under the EWS category is to ensure that students of the under-privileged strata of society get access to quality education as envisaged under Article 21A of the Constitution of India, especially from the schools which have the requisite infrastructure. It is thus, incumbent upon this Court to ensure that no prejudice is caused to the students from the EWS category."
The Court was of the view that the balance of convenience did not lie in favour of the petitioner school and that irreparable harm would be caused to the students of the EWS category if a stay was granted against the operation of the impugned order at the interim stage.
Accordingly, issuing notice in the petition, the Court dismissed the application seeking stay on the impugned order.
"It is, however, made clear that in case the petitioner were to succeed, this Court would consider passing appropriate orders so that the ratio of candidates to be admitted under the EWS category is suitably adjusted in the subsequent years to offset any burden caused to the petitioner," the Court ordered.
Title: AMBIENCE PUBLIC SCHOOL v. DIRECTORATE OF EDUCATION
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 90
Click Here To Read Order