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Delhi Court emphasizes importance of computerized lottery for EWS admissions to schools

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HT Digital,

New Delhi, Feb 27: The Delhi High Court stressed that schools must adhere to the results of the computerised lottery conducted by the Directorate of Education (DoE) for admitting students from economically weaker sections.

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Justice C Hari Shankar clarified that schools manage lotteries based on their class capacity. If the general category lacks students, the school must request the DoE to adjust the EWS student count.

The school is not authorised to alter the lottery’s results independently. The court’s directive originated from an incident where a student was denied admission to a private school’s pre-primary class despite being selected through the DoE’s lottery system. The school refused admission, citing a discrepancy between the actual and reported general category admissions to the DoE.

The school had already filled 25 per cent of general category slots with EWS candidates, as mandated by law. The court, in a recent order, stated that once a school informs the DoE about the number of available general category and EWS seats for an upcoming academic year, and the DoE conducts a lottery based on this information, the school is obligated to admit the eligible EWS students identified through the lottery.

The school cannot subsequently argue for a proportional reduction in EWS admissions due to a lower actual number of general category admissions than reported to the DoE, and reject students shortlisted for admission based on the school’s data.

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The court has ruled that once a school informs the Department of Education about the number of general and EWS seats available, it must abide by the lottery results. The school cannot later argue for a reduction in EWS admissions due to changes in general category admissions.

In the current case, since the lottery was conducted based on the school’s declared seat count for the academic year 2023-24, the petitioner is entitled to admission. The court further clarified that the petitioner has the right to education under the EWS category as per the Right to Education Act and the various circulars, guidelines, and instructions issued by the DoE.

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