The Delhi High Court while rejecting the claim of the Principal of Happy Hours School, where it had denied to give admissions to the petitioners on not fulfilling the neighborhood criteria, has directed to grant admission to the two petitioners in Class – 1 under the EWS/DG category. However, directed the Directorate of Education (DOE) to make endeavors as far as possible, to allot schools which are nearest to the residence of the students in question.

“This order is being passed keeping in view the fact that the children belonging to the weaker sections of the society are to be given equal opportunities for education in good schools, so that such students are able to come in the mainstream of the society. However, it is directed that the DOE shall make endeavour, as far as possible, to allot schools which are nearest to the residence of the students in question”, a bench of Justice Mini Pushkarna observed in the order.

In the present matter, the petitioner contended that despite being successful in the draw of lots conducted by the Directorate of Education (DOE) and having been allotted the school in question, they were denied admission.

Therefore, through the writ petition sought directions to the respondent-school to grant admission to the petitioners under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category/Disadvantaged Group (DG) category in Class – 1.

The respondents submitted that as the petitioners lived almost 4 kms away from the school, therefore they did not fulfill the neighborhood criteria, and cannot be granted admission on that account. Further, that the school does not provide any transportation to the areas where the petitioners reside.

However, the petitioner contended that they are willing to travel 4 kms.

As per the DOE, the criteria of neighborhood is not followed in the strict sense at the time of allotment of schools under the EWS/DG category, as there are more applicants than the seats available.

While noting the DOE’s submissions, the Court held that “in cases of admission under the EWS/DG category, the schools in question may not insist upon following the neighbourhood criteria strictly”.

“The court cannot be oblivious of the noble purpose with which criteria has been developed for reservation of seats under the EWS/DG category. The social purpose of reservation of seats under the EWS/DG category cannot be allowed to be lost, if such objections with regard to the applicants not meeting the neighbourhood criteria, are entertained especially when admissions under the EWS/DG category are involved”, the bench further held in the matter”, the single-judge bench further observed.

However, while allowing the petition, the bench further clarified that the petitioners shall make their own arrangements for travel from their residence to the school, and will not insist for providing transportation to them.

Cause Title: Tarun Kumar & Anr. v. The Principal Happy Hours School & Ors.

Click here to read/download the Order