Delhi High Court directed private schools to give 25% reservation to EWS category students

private schools

DELHI:  According to the recent reports, 132 private schools have been found to be violating the conditions to give admission to students belonging to EWS (economically weaker sections). Recently, the Delhi High Court has directed the state govt and private schools to ensure that the backlog of such unfilled seats is filled up in the next five years, in addition to the mandated 25 percent reservation, in all such educational institutions.

The division bench comprising Justice Najmi Waziri and Justice Vikas Mahajan held that in instances where schools have not complied with the requirements of admission of EWS category students, the government has to step into the aid of children and exercise its duty as a welfare state.

“In the circumstances, every endeavor shall be made by the state to ensure that the backlog of unfilled seats in private schools, both on private and government lands, is filled-up in the next five years in a phased manner; i.e., 20% of the vacancies each year, in addition to the mandated annual 25% intake,” said the court.

Earlier, the state govt told the court that 132 schools prima facie have been found to be in violation of its directions regarding the admission of students in the EWS category, and notices have been issued to them. According to the government, some of the schools have not been admitting students for the last decade or so.

“About 38,000 EWS seats are ordinarily vacant each academic year. However, the schools are accepting applications only on the basis of 25% of students actually admitted in the non-EWS category and not necessarily on the basis of the actual strength of the school,” Delhi’s standing counsel (civil) Santosh Kumar Tripathi submitted before the court

According to the law, private schools on private land have to admit 25 percent of students from the EWS category; for which the institutions are eligible for repayment of fees. The private schools on government land are also required to admit 25 percent of EWS students at the entry-level but the reimbursement by the government is done only for five per cent of students. The court in the order said no beneficiary of government land can overlook or avoid its obligation under the allotment.

It further said, “The state shall ensure that the 25% seats in the EWS category students shall be filled up on the basis of declared sanctioned strength at the entry-level (pre-school/nursery/pre-primary/kindergarten and class-I), irrespective of the actual number of students admitted in the general category”.

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