LE Correspondent 

Ernakulam, June 18,2022: While asserting that the State functionaries are expected to act fairly and reasonably as fairness is a rule to ensure that the vast power in the modern State is not abused but properly exercised, the Kerala High Court has allowed the writ petitions instituted by the petitioners through their fathers assailing the action on the part of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan  whereby they were declined admission on the basis of revised guidelines issued after the commencement of the admission process. 

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan V  opined that the  decision taken by the respondents to reform the admission guidelines after the process had started was arbitrary , irrational and unreasonable and not in the public interest. 

Facts relevant for the adjudication of the present petition were that a child named Elna Chinchu filed one of the writ petitions through her father. It was the case of the petitioner that her admission was revoked under the cover of the subsequent Government Order as told by the school authorities. In pursuance of the same the father of the petitioner made representations before respondents and requested that the admission already granted should not be cancelled and the child should be permitted to pursue the studies. It was also contended that the refusal to grant admission was illegal, irrational and arbitrary.  In view of the aforesaid background, the petitioner moved the writ petition. 

Another petition was preferred by a child named Master Dhruv Sai Kiran, through his father. It was the case of the petitioner that he applied for admission in KV school under the discretionary quota, however, the quota was discontinued as per the amended notification in the same academic year. The petitioner contended that the new guidelines which gave an overriding effect to the earlier guidelines were issued in the same academic year and the same was arbitrary.

The respondents on the other hand stated that the Government of India launched a National Education Policy 2020 with salutary aims to produce engaged, productive, and contributing citizens for building equitable, inclusive and plural society as envisaged in the Constitution of India. In pursuance of the same, amendments were made in the admission guidelines of the KVS in order to align with NEP 2020. Consequently, the guidelines for admission were reformed for the academic year 2022 – 2023. Under the special provisions of these guidelines, admissions over and above the class strength were discontinued in certain categories like the Members of Parliament (MPs) quota, Chairman Vidyalaya Management Committee (VMC) quota, children and grandchildren of Members of Parliament, children and grandchildren of retired KVS employees etc.

The Court found reasonable merit in the contention of the petitioners that the children may have had a legitimate expectation that they would be granted admission in accordance with the extant guidelines. The expectation of the children was legitimate and their interest had to be protected by all means,noted the Court.  Reliance was placed on the judgment of Major Saurabh Charan and Ors. v. Lieutenant Governor, NCT of Delhi, and observed that there was no iota of doubt on the fact that the decision taken by the respondents to reform the admission guidelines after the process had started was arbitrary, irrational and unreasonable and not in the public interest.  The prerogative of the executive is subject to the rule of law and fairness in state action embodied in Article 14 of the Constitution, the Court observed.

Additionally, the Court was of the stringent view that while adopting and implementing such policies, the State ought to have been careful not to trample upon the rights of minor children while striving to uphold the rights of others.Thus in light of the aforesaid observations, the Court allowed the present petitions. 

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