New Delhi, Nov 8: Delhi High Court on Friday set aside the 60 per cent quota in the prestigious Sanskriti School here for wards of group-A government officials, saying it was akin to the erstwhile segregation of white and black students in the US and violated constitutional provisions of equality and right to education.
By providing such a reservation, the school created an "arbitrary separation" between the children of Group-A officers and all other students, a bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Mukta Gupta said.
It also said that "the State cannot provide funds to any private individual to establish a school for an elite segment of the society" and directed the government to "remediate this violation, and ensure that the school in question open its doors equally to all students".
"Sanskriti school has been promoted as a school primarily for the children of Group-A officers of the Union Government who join service through the Civil Services Examination. This situation is analogous to the scenarios in Brown and Keyes cases (where the issues involved segregation of White and African-American student populations)," the court said.
"The school possesses no justifiable basis upon which to label group-A Union Government officers as a suspect class. No logical rationale distinguishes this class of persons from other individuals engaged in other branches of the Indian Services," it said.
It said if the reservation in place to provide stable schooling environment for children of officers whose assignments "fluctuate" between different geographic locations in India, "the justification is moot", as this predicament was being faced by all persons engaged in other branches of the Indian services.
The court said the school, funded by public funds, "has not narrowly tailored its means" because a 60 per cent quota "creates a limited notion of diversity and merely separates group-A Union Government officers from an otherwise similar category of students".
"Thus, a classification that includes merely the children of group-A Union Government officers bears no merit. In sum, the respondents' separate treatment of aforesaid classification of children violates both the spirit of equal protection under Article 14 of India's Constitution and the spirit of equality of education under Article 21A," the bench said.