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SC Sets Aside Delhi HC Direction that Private Schools Need to Fill EWS Seat Backlogs Within 5 Yrs

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Supreme Court Law Insider

Khushi Bajpai

Published on: September 7, 2022 at 20:41 IST

The Supreme Court on September 1 set aside the order of the Delhi High Court that private schools should fill up the backlog of seats of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the next five years in a phased manner.

Further, the Court also set aside the high court’s direction that the 25% EWS category students shall be filled up on the basis of declared sanctioned strength at the entry level (Pre-School/Nursery/Pre-Primary/KG and Class I), irrespective of the actual number of students admitted in the global category.

As regards the first direction of the high court, a bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Abhay S Oka wondered how it would be workable.

Regarding the second direction, the bench observed that the high court could have passed the direction at an interim stage when the very same issues were the subject matter of the case.

“We are unable to appreciate how clause 4 of the impugned order dated 26.02.2022 (clause 4 contained the direction to fill up backlog EWS seats) can be worked out even if the schools are at default for the earlier period as the same cannot be compensated in this manner by an interim order.”

“Similarly, the issued which has been examined by the court is whether the 25% of seats in EWS category is being filled up on the basis of the declared sanctioned strength or actual admissions and we do believe that this cannot form subject of an interim order”.

The apex court set aside the impugned order qua directions contained in Paragraphs 4 and 5.

The high court had directed that where the schools had not complied with the requirements of the admission, the states would have to step in and provide aid.

The court directed that the state should make every endeavour to ensure that the backlog is filled within the next five years in a phased manner, i.e., 20% of the vacancies to be filled each year in addition to the 25%.

The court further directed that the state shall ensure that 25% seats in the EWS category students shall be filled on the basis of declared sanctioned strength irrespective of the number of students admitted in the general category.