Court asks schools to decide on reservation for poor students


New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked public schools on subsidised land to evolve a consensus among them to reserve at least 15 percent of their seats for free education of poor students and report to the court within a week, saying it brooked no more delay.

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"If the private unaided schools arrive at a consensus to provide free education to at least 15 per cent poor students, a decision could be arrived at," said a division bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice S.N. Agrawal asking the schools to decide the matter within a week.

While adjourning the matter till May 14, the court said, "If you agree we will decide. We do not want to waste time. We have devoted so much time on it."

When a counsel appearing for a school said that there are more than 500 schools and it would take some time to arrive at a consensus, the court said it was concerned with the matter pertaining to the petition.

"We are concerned with those who are before us," the court said while rejecting the plea of the counsel, apparently aimed at delaying the matter.

A court-appointed committee had recommended that all the 361 public schools, built on subsidised public land, should reserve 20 percent of their total seats for free education to the poor students.

Subsequently, the Delhi lieutenant-governor has notified the state government's Oct 2006 order to private schools built on subsidised public land to reserve 20 percent of their seats for poor students and also waive their fees.

On Jan 31, some of these public schools had filed a petition challenging the Delhi government's notification for free education to 20 per cents of students contending that the notification could not be implemented in its present form.