Nursery admissions not under Right to Education purview, court told

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 13, 2013 12:50 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) The central government Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that the Right to Education (RTE) law did not apply to nursery admissions and a state government may have its own policies for this class.

Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra, appearing for the central government, told the court that as per section 13 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, children between the age 6-14 years were covered by the provisions for free and compulsory elementary education.

He added that the children below the age of six were not covered under the act but the "state government may make necessary arrangement for providing free pre-school education to such children".

A division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice V.K. Jain said it will pass the order next week after going through the central government's reply.

The bench Feb 12 asked the central government to clarify whether the RTE law applied to nursery admissions and if it did, what procedure was to be followed for it.

Mehra said the law stipulated that a child, between 6-14 years, would be treated as a child covered under the legislation and, hence, nursery admissions would not come under its purview.

In the government reply, Vikram Sahay, director, human resource development (HRD)ministry, said: "Schools can admit in Class 1, upto 25 percent of the strength of the class, children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood and provide free and compulsory elementary education till its completion."

"The state government may have its own policies governing admissions in pre-primary class," the reply said.

The court was hearing a petition filed by NGO Social Jurist against the two notifications of the HRD ministry and the Delhi government's directorate of education, empowering unaided private schools to formulate their own nursery admission criteria.

The PIL by the NGO through advocate Ashok Agarwal alleged that these two notifications had given a free hand to all unaided recognized private schools.

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