Unchecked growth of ‘dummy schools’ adversely affecting Delhi students: HC

Unchecked growth of ‘dummy schools’ is adversely affecting students who genuinely fulfil the ‘local education’ criterion and allows ineligible candidates to secure seats under the Delhi state quota, the Delhi High Court has said.

The high court issued notice and sought the response of the Delhi government, Central Board of Secondary Education, Directorate General of Health Services, Delhi University (DU) and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) on a petition against proliferation of dummy schools.

It listed the matter for further hearing on November 29.

The high court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the eligibility criterion applied by both DU and GGSIPU for allotting MBBS or Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) seats under the DSQ.

The PIL filed by Rajeev Aggarwal claimed the idea behind ‘dummy schools’ is to provide a “virtual platform to students to show that they have migrated to Delhi after passing class 10th exam with the sole purpose of somehow availing the benefit of Delhi state quota seats, which otherwise ought to be allocated amongst the bonafide residents of NCT of Delhi”.

Delhi government standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi submitted there was no concept of dummy schools’ in Delhi.

“Upon hearing the counsel for the petitioner, this court is of the prima facie view that the unchecked growth of dummy schools actively disadvantages students who genuinely fulfill the local education requirement by permitting otherwise ineligible students to obtain seats under the DSQ,” a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula said.

As per the criterion, only candidates who have completed their class 11 and 12 education from a recognised school located in Delhi (referred to as local education’) are considered for grant of seats under the DSQ, the plea said.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that compared to other states, Delhi is unique in prescribing local education requirement as the sole criterion to determine eligibility for state quota.

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He contended this criterion facilitates the mushrooming of dummy schools’ across the national capital which is detrimental to students who genuinely satisfy the local education requirement under the DSQ.

“Dummy schools are essentially virtual platforms established in partnership with private schools and coaching institutes which are recognised as schools by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) even though they do not engage in day-to-day education or have a brick-and-mortar campus.

“Such schools enroll students residing outside Delhi thereby enabling them to illegitimately exploit the benefit of seats under the DSQ,” advocate Augustine Peter, representing the petitioner, said.

The counsel also showed to the court the websites of two coaching institutes which provide dummy school facilities.

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