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Delhi High Court on Thursday stayed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s order scrapping management quota in nursery admissions in private unaided schools, saying the decision was taken without the authority of law.

It also stayed the Delhi government’s January 6 order with regard to 11 other admission criteria, including issues like proven track record of parents during admission of their children, music and sports, that were also scrapped.

Justice Manmohan in his interim order said that the government’s January 6 decision was also in contravention of the Lieutenant Governor’s 2007 order on nursery admissions in
private unaided schools.

He said the autonomy of private unaided schools with regard to nursery admissions cannot be restricted by an office order and has to be done under the law.

The court, however, added that if there were any malpractices with regard to nursery admission criteria in private unaided schools, then they should be investigated and taken to their logical conclusion.

The court clarified that the observations made and the view taken by it are only “prima facie” and not final.

The Delhi government by its January 6 order had scrapped 62 “arbitrary and discriminatory” criteria listed by schools on their websites for admissions, but retained the 25 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).

The High Court was hearing pleas filed by Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education For All, seeking quashing of AAP government’s decision to scrap management and all other quotas, except for EWS in Delhi’s private unaided schools for nursery admissions.

They had claimed that the order was “without jurisdiction and contrary to and violative of various judgments passed by the Supreme Court as well as by various benches of the High
Court, relating to the autonomy of private unaided schools to regulate their admissions”.

In an earlier hearing, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had defended his government’s decision to scrap the quota criteria, alleging that private unaided schools in the national capital had become a “hub of corruption” as they were running “admission rackets” under the garb of management quota.