RTE is not applicable to nursery: HC

RTE is not applicable to nursery: HC

In a landmark verdict, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday held that the Right to Education (RTE) Act and subsequent government notifications are not applicable for nursery admissions in unaided private schools.

The verdict, which does not affect the ongoing nursery admission process in the national capital, however, clarified that the RTE Act would deal with 25 per cent reservation for toddlers of weaker sections in admissions to “pre-elementary” classes including the nursery.

“Considering the provisions contained in Article 21-A (Right to Education) of the Constitution and the scheme of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, ... there is no escape from the conclusion that as far as the private unaided schools referred in ... the said Act are concerned, the provisions of the Act, except the admission to the extent of 25 per cent of the strength of the class, to the children belonging to the weaker sections and disadvantaged group, do not apply to admissions made to the pre-elementary (pre-school and pre-primary) classes of such schools,” a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain said.

Disposing of PILs filed by NGO Social Jurist and Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the court refused to quash notifications of Union Human Resources Development Ministry and Directorate of Education, saying that like RTE, they also do not apply to nursery admissions.

The court allowed the plea of the Centre that the RTE Act is applicable to children between the age group of 6 to 14 only and that the states were free to formulate policies to govern nursery admissions.

It, however, asked the Centre to consider amending the Act to include nursery education as well, saying that the schools cannot be allowed to run as “teaching shops” as it would be “detrimental to equal opportunity to children”.

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