A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed, which heard two separate petitions for almost the whole day, passed its interim order in the evening saying, "Appellants, who have 70 points under neighbourhood criteria and were selected in the draw of lots, will not be disturbed. They will be given the admission." (Agencies)
It, however, clarified those kids, who emerged winner in the draw of lots in more than one school, "shall choose one school and will have to relinquish other seats on or before April 9. Otherwise, they shall lose the right of admission in any of them."
The bench, also comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul, asked the Directorate of Education (DoE) to collect the data from all unaided recognized private schools about the number of seats, which fall vacant and remained unfilled and provide it to the court on next date of hearing on April 16.
The court said on the next date, it will try to find a solution by considering the number of remaining seats and the claim of the parents who were initially given five points under inter-state transfer category. The government later had done away with the criteria.
Earlier, the court had stayed the fresh draw of lots being conducted for admission in nursery classes in pursuance of the March 6 order of the single judge bench and had ordered that no further admission will take place without its permission.
The single judge bench had asked the Delhi government to conduct a fresh draw of lots among similarly placed kids who had secured 70 points on the basis of neighbourhood criteria.
The present dispute started after the Lt Governor had on February 27 issued an order abolishing five points, out of 100, being awarded to inter-state transfer cases.
Maximum 70 points are being awarded to kids who live within eight kilometres of a school. The LG's order further said, "If a school has conducted draw of lots for those applicants securing 70 points, that draw shall remain valid for the selected/confirmed candidates only.
"Fresh draw of lots shall be held for remaining applicants having 70 points, including wait-listed applicants and those applicants who were earlier securing 75 points because of 'inter-state transfer case' category," the LG said.
The single judge found fault with the order and said, "However, this court is of the view that all equals have to be treated alike and all children who have secured equal points should participate in a single draw of lots."
The single judge had directed that candidates having equal marks be considered equally by conducting a fresh draw of lots, wherever necessary.
An appeal was filed by guardians of 14 kids alleging they were already declared selected for nursery admission after the draw of lots and will have to undergo the same process again in pursuance of the single judge bench order on the issue. It had sought setting aside of the order.
The plea said the single judge had "grossly erred" in passing the order "completely ignoring that a large number of draws have already been held and wards of people like the present appellants have been selected for admission."
It also said the fact that any interim order, at this stage, would cause inconvenience and mental agony to the parents of successful kids was "overlooked".
The petition said, "If those persons who have earlier secured 75 points because of inter-state transfer criteria have to be again considered, they should be considered by a fresh draw of lots to be held amongst themselves along with the remaining applicants having 70 points and not at the cost of the appellants herein who had already participated in the draw of lots earlier held validly for those applicants securing 70 points."
The larger bench was on Thursday in agreement with the plea and said the successful kids, having 70 neighbourhood points, were not before the single judge bench when the order to conduct fresh draw of lots was passed and hence, their admission cannot be stalled.
Earlier, the government had told the court that it had decided to scrap the inter-state transfer category for which five extra points were awarded to a kid in the admission process.
Under the earlier system, out of the total 100 points, 70 were given if the child lives in the neighbourhood of the school, additional 20 were given if a sibling is studying there, five points more if either parent is an alumni and another five points if it is an inter-state transfer case. Draw of lots is being held at each point level.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed, which heard two separate petitions for almost the whole day, passed its interim order in the evening saying, "Appellants, who have 70 points under neighbourhood criteria and were selected in the draw of lots, will not be disturbed. They will be given the admission."