Delhi’s elite Sanskriti School can no longer offer a lion’s share of its seats to the children of top officers. The High Court today struck down the school’s 60 per cent quota for bureaucrats’ children likening it to racial segregation in America.
“Reserving seats for a particular branch of the Indian Services disadvantages children of persons engaged in other branches of the Indian Services,” the court said in a 30-page order.
“…the school which has been funded by public funds for its creation has not ‘narrowly tailored’ its means, because a 60% quota creates a limited notion of diversity, and merely separates ‘Group-A Union Government officers’ from an otherwise similar category of students,” said the order.
The court invoked a case involving segregation of white and African-American students in a school in the US and said: “The very labeling of the school in question as a school for Group-A Union Government officers along with the fact that the school reserves 60% of its seats for (them), posits such children as ‘separate’ from other students.”
In the Indian context, the court added, “where forging of a nation is at a greater stake, the circle of citizens has to be broadened and the children of whatever parentage to be made of one blood and educated to be one harmonious people.”
The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) association, which runs the school, tried to argue that it was created to help officers with transferable jobs. The court pointed out that the Kendriya Vidyalaya schools for the children of central government employees were set up with the same objective.
To the argument that admission to the Kendriya Vidyalaya schools is difficult, the court said the government should have created more of them, instead of an elite school.
The court acted on a petition by a parent who argued that the school offers only 10 per cent of its seats to general students. Lawyer Dheeraj Kumar Singh, who tried to admit his little daughter into the school, said in his petition that top officers are the “most privileged class” and need no reservation.