Published: 06th September 2022
Delhi HC seeks stand of Delhi gov’t on plea against fee reimbursement scheme for minority students
A PIL claimed that the exclusion of students from non-minority, low-income backgrounds based on religion and caste was unconstitutional
The Delhi High Court has sought the stand of the Delhi government and Delhi Minorities Commission on a plea challenging the scheme providing for reimbursement of tuition fees of school students belonging to minority communities.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Avinash Malhotra who claimed that the exclusion of students from non-minority, low-income backgrounds based on religion and caste was unconstitutional, as stated in a report by PTI.
The petitioner said that this “constitutional hurdle” can be overcome by “tweaking the policy” if reimbursement of fees is provided to all those who belong to low-income families and not only minority communities. “The respondent notified a scheme for the Reimbursement of Tuition Fees for Minorities Category students studying in Class I to XII, which is under challenge in the present petition. As per the scheme, minority students with family income below Rs 3 lakh per annum were eligible for obtaining reimbursement of tuition fees and other compulsory fees in recognized public schools in Delhi,” said the plea filed through lawyer Awantika Manohar, as per PTI.
“It is the case of the petitioner that this policy is violative of Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution. It does conform with either Article 15(4) or 15(6) of the Constitution,” it said. The petitioner said that if the benefit of the reimbursement scheme is extended to all low-income families, it would be in consonance with Article 46 of the Constitution, which demands that the state would promote the educational and economic interests of weaker sections of the people.
The plea further alleged that the policy was not based on any quantifiable data to identify socially and educationally backward classes of people in Delhi and it simply granted a special provision to all minorities. “Identification of socially and educationally backward classes of society cannot be done simply by granting benefits to minorities' from families with low income. Such a policy evidently is not based on quantifiable data, but appears to have been on the whims and fancies of the respondent,” the petition stated, as per PTI. The matter would be heard next on December 13.