The court listed for further consideration on April 11 the plea that challenged the minimum age criteria of 6 years for class 1 for the upcoming academic year there.
The counsel for Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), which had earlier extended the deadline to April 11 from March 21, agreed before Justice Rekha Palli that the last date for registration would be further extended.
“You will shift it (deadline) by two or three days,” asked the judge, to which lawyer S. Rajappa –- who represents KVS — said, “yes”.
“Respondent is expected to postpone the last date by two days,” the court said.
The central government opposed the grant of any interim relief to the petitions which have challenged the change in minimum age criteria of six years from five years for class, saying that the decision is not sudden as it is in terms of the National Education Policy which came in 2020 and the policy is not being challenged.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing for the Centre, urged the court to not “interdict” at this age as its order would have a pan-India impact and create “heterogeneity” amongst the students who would be aged five to seven years.
The senior lawyer submitted that the aggrieved students can take admission in other schools and “can't bank on KVs” for admissions.
He added that 21 States have implemented the six-plus regime for class 1 and since KV is for central government employees who are transferred from one place to another, there is a need to ensure uniformity concerning admission age.
Sharma informed that seven lakh applications have been received against one lakh seats.
KVs are the beacon of education and the first to implement the NEP, he said.
In one of the petitions before the court, a five-year-old girl has claimed that the change in age criteria, which was earlier five years, is in violation of the right to education guaranteed to the petitioner under Articles 14, 21, and 21-A of the Constitution as well as under the provisions of Delhi School Education Act, 1973 and Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
The petitioner, a UKG student who is represented by lawyer Ashok Agarwal, has claimed that KVS suddenly changed the admission criteria for class 1 to six years by uploading the guidelines for admission to Kendriya Vidyalayas on its portal just four days before the admission process started last month.
The petition has stated that change is arbitrary, discriminatory, unjust, unreasonable, and without the authority of law and that it did not give sufficient time to the parents to make alternate arrangements.
Earlier, Agarwal had argued that there are certain other central government schools, such as the Army Public Schools, which still follow the five years regime, and not six years, as the minimum age for admission to class 1.
Justice Palli had observed that ''prima facie there was something'' in the petitions and that the authorities can't bring a change at ''the last minute''.
The court had clarified that it was not going to interfere with the National Education Policy (NEP) but the manner in which it was to be followed ''has to be sorted out''.
Earlier, the court had said that there cannot be two sets of schools –one mandating six years as the minimum age for applying for class 1 and others requiring five years--in the city for the same education.
Delhi government has told the court that the age criteria for admission to class 1 in its schools was still five years and it has “nothing to do” with KVs.