High Court tells Delhi govt to draft new criteria on domicile of students
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has urged the Delhi government to reassess the existing regulations and potentially draft new criteria regarding the domicile or permanent residency status of candidates seeking admission to educational institutions.
In a ruling by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula, the court emphasised the need for clear criteria to classify individuals as domiciles or permanents for admission purposes and to provide reasonable accommodations for genuine Delhi residents who become ineligible due to unforeseen circumstances.
The court stressed that these revised or new rules should acknowledge the complexities of life, which sometimes force students to relocate from their home state due to unexpected situations. This statement was made in the context of the court upholding the Delhi quota for MBBS/BDS courses in Delhi University and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University.
These rules allocate 85 per cent of admission seats to candidates who completed their grades 11 and 12 in Delhi, regardless of their place of birth or permanent residence in the national capital, while the remaining 15 per cent are open for competition on an All India basis.
The legal challenge to these rules was brought by a NEET 2023 aspirant, a permanent resident of Delhi who was denied admission in the Delhi quota because he had to move to Kolkata in 2019 due to his father’s transfer. Consequently, he completed his grade 9 to 12 in Kolkata.
In its ruling, the bench recognised that the contested rules could exclude deserving students who have legitimate claims as Delhi residents. The rules unfairly penalise students deeply rooted in Delhi but compelled to study elsewhere due to circumstances beyond their control, such as their parents’ employment.
The court underscored the importance of potential legislative refinement, stating, “The government of NCT of Delhi must revisit the existing rules or consider drafting new rules on the eligibility criteria in admissions to educational institutions in respect of domicile/permanent residency status.” However, the bench clarified that this process is entirely within
the state’s discretion and that they can frame guidelines that best serve the interests of Delhi residents.
The court added, “The state government is encouraged to take appropriate action in line with the facts leading to this judgment,” indicating that discussions on this matter were already underway.
The Delhi Legislative Assembly is actively considering a proposal to amend the eligibility criteria for
Delhi candidates in the DPCI Act to include residency as a criterion.
In March 2022, the Speaker of the Delhi Legislative Assembly referred the issue to the Education Committee of the Delhi Vidhan Sabha.