Apex court to hear plea over RTE for nursery admissions

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the city government on a petition filed by a civil rights group challenging the Delhi High Court’s order that the Right to Education is not applicable to nursery admissions in unaided private schools.

A bench of justices H L Dattu and Dipak Misra issued notice to the state government seeking its response on the plea filed by Social Jurist challenging the High Court order.

The petition had argued that the HC order rendered the provision under sections 13 and 2(o) of the Act — which prohibits screening for kids seeking admission — redundant for children below six years.

The apex court has agreed to hear the plea that challenged the Delhi High Court’s order that the Act applies only to the children between the age bracket of six and 14 years and not to those below six years.

Advocate Ashok Aggarwal, said, “The high court erred in law in holding that the RTE Act applied only in the matter of admission of children between the age of six to 14 years and is not applicable to nursery admissions.”

According to the petition, “The Delhi High Court held that the provisions of section 13 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 only apply to the admission of the children between the age of six years and 14 years and are not applicable to the admissions of kids in nursery in unaided private schools.”

“The Act’s section 13 was formulated in the context of rampant screening practices being adopted by the private unaided schools in nursery admissions which had resulted in a comprehensive round of litigation in the high court. It was to correct this mischief for which the said provision was incorporated,” stated the petition.

Aggarwal said, “The section 13 of the Act not only postulates non-discrimination among children in the matter of admission in nursery class, but it also meant for prevention of commercialisation of education as much as it will prevent unaided private schools from forcing hapless parents to pay illegal donations at the time of admission.”

The high court had passed the verdict on February 19, holding that the RTE Act and subsequent government notifications were not applicable to nursery admission in unaided private schools.

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

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