Delhi government's new rule for admission in Nursery/ KG/ Class I in Sarvodaya schools may deprive children of migrant workers in the city as well as the children residing in its satellite cities from pursuing studies.
The Directorate of Education, in its guidelines for admission for 2019-20 stated that only those children who are residents of Delhi and are living within a radius of 3 kilometres of the Sarvodaya schools are eligible to apply.
The guidelines read, "Children residing in Delhi in the vicinity of the school (if a Sarvodaya Vidyalaya is notavailable in the vicinity, then residents within a radius of 3 km of the schools) shall beeligible to apply." This is interesting as now it is mandated that only those who are residents of the city can be eligible to apply. The guideline took a turn from previous year’s guidelines where it had been mandated that applicants should live within 3 kilometres of radius of the Sarvodaya School, whether or not they are residents of the city. Thus, making even those residing in the border areas eligible.
The new rule comes into existence even when it was challenged by a resident of Ghaziabad who sought the admission of his girls in a school in bordering Anand Vihar last year. The applicant had said that they were denied admission even when they were residing within the 3 km radius of the school. Responding to the plea, Delhi High Court stated that the girls could not be denied admission as there was no available rule, guideline or instruction limiting the right of admission to Sarvodaya Vidyalayas, located in Delhi, only to children who are residing within Delhi.
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The new guidelines also mandate that the parents of the children should possessRation Card,Domicile certificate,Voter Id,Electricity bill/MTNL telephone bill/Water bill or Aadhaar Card to prove their residence in Delhi. The guidelines appear to be in line with previous provisions of Delhi government which reserved 80 per cent of beds in Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital for the residents of the National Capital.
However, the Delhi High Court had quashed the circular, saying that it suffered from various vices. It had stated, "We have no hesitation in holding that the impugned circular suffers from various vices which are not permissible under the Constitution." It added that the Constitution guarantees equality before the law and confers equal protection on every citizen andthat no citizen shall be discriminated against on the basis of place of birth.
Senior lawyer and rights activist Ashok Agarwal argued that the Delhi Government led by the Aam Aadmi Party wishes to segregate people into voters and non-voters, and mobilise voters on regional grounds. Talking to NewsClick, he said, "The move will affect thousands of children who come to Delhi for their studies. There were attempts earlier too, to drive out outsider children from the schools but they could not execute it under pressure from various segments. How can they do it given that the Right to Education is a central legislation?"
Calling the move great injustice to the working class, Agarwal said that the people living on rent may not have the essential documents. With this move, the education of children of the marginalised sections will be severely affected.
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