City private schools can admit only 25% EWS students: HC

In a significant direction, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday made it clear that the upper limit for admitting students from economically disadvantaged sections of the society to private schools of Chandigarh is 25 per cent.

Holding that the Right to Education (RTE) Act will prevail, a division bench of the High Court on Thursday also ruled that private schools in the city will be under contractual obligation to comply with the conditions laid down for providing education to economically weaker section (EWS) students in lieu of land provided to them by the Chandigarh Administration at concessional rates.

Since the High Court has held that RTE Act will prevail, the schools will not be entitled to claim reimbursement for admitting 15 per cent EWS students but only for the remaining 10 per cent students admitted under the RTE Act.

Moreover, in cases of 'dispute', the private schools will represent to the Chandigarh Administration which, on individual basis, will decide the disputes pertaining compensation (reimbursement). The directions were passed on Thursday by a division bench while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Hemant Goswami. The Bench ruled that since RTE Act has come into force the provisions under the said Act with regard to reservation for economically weaker section students will also prevail.

The court has also ruled that the 'extent of reservation where land has been provided at concessional rate would not exceed 25 per cent'. Also, the compensation under the said Act would be vis-a-vis the extent of over and above reservation made by grant of land at 'allegedly' concessional rate.

Also the extent of reservation while making allotment at concessional rate would be decided by the Chandigarh Administration when individual schools make representation on account of reserved seats.

The petitioner, Hemant Goswami, had sought the implementation of EWS rules. According to the petitioner, the Administration had to provide 15 per cent seats for the EWS students in all the classes in a school. The petition, which was admitted last year, on Thursday came up for resumed hearing and was disposed of.

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