Maharashtra | HC reserves order on plea challenging RTE quota rules

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Thursday reserved its orders on petitions filed by private schools challenging a January 2015 government resolution that specified two levels of entry for admissions under the Right To Education (RTE) quota.

A division bench of Justice Anoop Mohta and Justice Vijay Achliya heard arguments by schools, NGOs as well the state government.

The January rules were reintroduced last month by the state government after it withdrew a controversial April 30, 2015, rule that allowed private schools to cancel pre-primary admissions under the RTE quota. The January rules specified two levels of entry: one at the pre-primary level and the other at class I in cases where the number of seats differed at these classes requiring fresh admissions in a school. For example, a school which had 100 seats in pre-primary classes had to reserve 25% for students from economically weak and disadvantaged sections of the society under RTE. In Class I, if the school had 200 seats, it had to set apart an additional 25% seats to meet the RTE quota.

Advocate Chetan Mali, counsel for Pune-based NGO Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat, said that the two levels of entry were necessary to ensure that the 25% RTE quota was implemented at every class

The state said that schools that had the same number of seats at both pre-primary and class I will not have two entry levels. The schools, however, said that the two entry levels were not provided in the RTE law. The other dispute was about whether the schools would have to keep vacant seats that had not been filled in the RTE quota. The state refused to reimburse the fees towards vacant seats.

As on July 2015, only 8,799 students were admitted in schools after the first round under the RTE. Over 22,406 students are still waiting for admissions under the RTE quota across Maharashtra for the 2015-16 academic year to pre-primary and class I.

Source: The Times of India

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