In a letter to the Delhi education department, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has suggested that Delhi government schools should cater only to residents of the national capital.
In a letter dated February 7, Sisodia said he concurs with a proposal of the directorate of education to include the requirement of being a resident of Delhi as an eligibility condition for seeking admission in schools run by the Delhi government.
Suggesting that admission of students from other states encourages “abdication of responsibility” by those governments, Sisodia wrote, “…we respect and appreciate the right of every child to get education anywhere within the territory of India and desire of the parent to secure high quality education offered by Delhi government. However, we also need to realise that we cannot be expected to provide quality education to residents of adjoining states as well, especially when the neighbouring states are doing nothing to improve their government schools. This will lead to further abdication of responsibilities by these states…”
A matter along these lines had come up before the Delhi High Court recently, when a resident of Ghaziabad sought to admit his three daughters to a Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Anand Vihar. The petitioner stated that they were denied admission as they were asked to produce proof of residence in Delhi, even though their residence is 2-3 km away from the school despite being in a neighbouring state. In a judgment dated December 18, 2018, the court directed the school to admit the three girls as it found “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…”
Guidelines published by the government for admission to Sarvodaya Vidyalayas for 2018-2019 state that various documents must be produced as proof of residence, but do not state that the residence should be in Delhi.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal, who works actively on matters relating to the Right to Education, said the proposal Sisodia is backing is “unconstitutional” and linked to “vote-bank politics”.
“This is an attempt to win over Delhi voters and make them feel better. You cannot deny admission to a single child. The Right to Education is child-centric, not parent- or state-centric,” he said.