Delhi HC raises income threshold for EWS quota admissions in schools
New Delhi, Dec 5 : The Delhi High Court on Tuesday ordered to increase the income threshold for admission to schools under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh annually, pending government law amendments.
The order came in response to concerns about the living standards of the intended beneficiaries and aims to align the income criteria with the prevailing economic conditions.
The court directed the Delhi Government to eliminate the self-declaration mechanism for income by parents and create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for income verification and regular monitoring of eligibility criteria.
The case pertains to where a parent secured his son's admission to Sanskriti School under the EWS category through fraudulent means.
While dismissing the petition challenging the admission's cancellation, the court allowed the child to continue as a general category student, saying that the child should not suffer for the father's misdeeds.
The court imposed a Rs 10 lakh cost on the father for obtaining admission through illicit means, denying a deserving candidate an opportunity.
The costs imposed must be deposited with the school, or the admission will be deemed cancelled if not done within six months.
Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav expressed concern over the misuse of welfare schemes designed for economically marginalised sections.
The court stressed the need for a scientific and data-based approach to determine income criteria and urged the government to reevaluate the income criteria for EWS reservations in schools.
To ensure compliance with the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the court directed the Delhi Government to assess economic conditions and promptly decide on increasing the income threshold.
Until the decision is made and the scheme is amended, the court considered the income threshold to be increased to Rs 5 lakh.
The court noted the discrepancy between the existing income criterion and the minimum wage for unskilled labour in Delhi, stressing the need to prevent common people from resorting to unfair means to secure educational benefits.