The movie ‘Hindi Medium’ rightly depicts the school admissions scenario in the city of New Delhi. The movie is based upon a book by school activist Mr Sumit Vohra of www.admissionsnursery.com. The website www.admissionsnursery.com is quite helpful for parents seeking admission for their wards in NCR region !
The criterion of School Admissions laid down by Delhi Government is subject to Right to Education Act, which prohibits interview of Parents. Therefore, strictly admissions are based upon certain points allotted for Distance, Alumni, Sibling, Girl Child, Armed Forces, Single Parent, Transfer Case and so on. Though, in case of minorities schools belonging to Christianity and Sikhs, they have been provided freedom to give priority to the Minority by assigning maximum points for the religion.
But otherwise the distance factor is given the maximum importance for General Category, therefore the parents who are not residing near a good School indulge in unethical practices as depicted in the movie, like they first shifted to Vasant Kunj from Chandni Chowk and then to some backward area to depict them as poor.
The Delhi School recognize two further quotas for admission which has been recognized as per law. One is EWS (Economically Weaker Section) and other is Management Quota. EWS is specially for poor people who do not have more than Rs 1 lakh per annum of income in the previous financial year and can produce a certificate in support from a Magistrate.
While ‘Management Quota’ basically gives some freedom to school to admit anyone and mostly wards of well known people get admission under this criterion which includes Local MLAs, Head of Police, etc and also in some schools there are touts associated with them, who will charge lakhs of rupees to get you admitted under this criterion, as no one can question the same. Otherwise, Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI) is applicable to Department of Education through which information is sought regarding specific schools.
In the movie HINDI MEDIUM, though it is shown that they move to different localities and try for admission but in reality it is not so easy, therefore parents plan well in advance, 1-2 years ahead of admission dates and go to the extent of taking telephone connections and also fake Voter IDs at the new Address. I, myself go admission of my ward in a Delhi School, therefore, I was highly surprized to see what the other parents already had planned in advance.
My first preference was to get my ward admitted too the nearest minority School in Ashok Vihar Phase I, which seemed to be a reputed one, which was just 0.9 km away from my residential society, when distance was counted wall to wall but it was 1.2 km when taken Gate to Gate. The School criterion gave maximum points for children residing in 1 km area.
While my son was considered under 1.2 km criterion and got 5 points less, making him ineligible from the draw of lots. Though, nothing was mentioned on the form. And I was also surprized to see that another colony in Keshav Puram was also rejected which was just 1.02 km, while the Nirmri Colony was taken within the purview of 1 km, even being same 1.02 km from gate to gate !!!
While my son was already studying in the Play School school branch of the same school in Shalimar Bagh, which gave us enough knowledge as to the location of many parents. But on asking those parents how they got their names in the Admission list, they said they stayed in Ashok Vihar only, i.e. within 1 km of the School, which was highly surprizing when you have known the truth :O
This made me investigate through the Voter ID details the correct address of those parents, which I had physically verified as well, some of them were staying in Pitam Pura, Shalimar Bagh and Shakti Nagar but not in Ashok Vihar. This made me file a court case even in Rohini District Court, but I couldn’t find any precedent which may help out wall to wall distance case to be successful, while I gave the list of those eight parents with proper documents to the court as a part of rejoinder.
Therefore, in the end only those 8 parents whose false documents were used for taking admission to the school would have been suspended by the court but my son would have still not got the admission. This made me stop pursuing the case after 3-4 hearings and in the end the case was dismissed in October 2012, as expected !
But only the recent release of the movie Hindi Medium gave me confidence to reveal these details, else for an ordinary person (AAM AADMI) like us, it is not possible to pursue these things for long, as school lobby is always on the stronger side, which seemed from their Advocate as well, who even tried to scare me that in similar case, another parent was penalized of Rs 50,000 by the court and later I found out all statements were false and pure lies.
Another important point to ponder is when I gave the list with proper documents through the court to the School, why SCHOOL did not bother to take any action even at School level against any of them ? Why they have been silent spectator, if they were neutral party and should have given admission to deserving children ?
But I do have the records, wherein some parents have got two voter ID made at the same time, which is an offence under Indian Law. To give one example (from 2012 record), Mr Amit (name changed), was staying in Shakti Nagar, physically verified address, which was atleast 5 kms away from Ashok Vihar School and no other factor could have helped their daughter eligible for admission, as they were not from the minority community. But he had Second Voter ID card of Phase I Ashok Vihar.
Surprizingly, this second Voter ID card still exists and there is NO other person by same Last Name as Mr Amit at this Ashok Vihar Address. While Mr Amit, his wife, mother, brother and few other family members hold Voter ID cards issued at Shakti Nagar Address only, which is ofcourse the correct address 🙂
Legally, obtaining two voter ID cards, i.e. dual voting rights is an offence as per Representation of People Act, 1950. As per Section 17 of this Act – “No person shall be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for more than one constituency. And further it is punishable under Section 31 of Representation of People Act, 1950, because he must have provided false declaration at at least one of these places. Punishment provided is with up to one year of imprisonment and fine”.
This School used to take the criterion of 1 Km and that used to cover Phase I of Ashok Vihar and maximum till Nimri Colony. If possible school had power and resources to verify all the addresses physically but they never did for the reasons best known to them.
There was another interesting case of a professional Mr Goel (name changed), as far as I can recall (not sure what proof he had of Ashok Vihar), but infact Mr Goel was residing in Pitam Pura (7 kms away) and got his son admitted in 2012 in this School and seemed from the 2013 admission list, another child as well, as next year he was eligible for Sibling points too.
The lesson here is mainly for the Delhi Education system to learn and understand is that Nursery Admission system has become so complex in Delhi Region that parents are ready to go to any extent to get their wards admitted in a good school !!!
About the Author: The Author of this article is Ankur Raheja, a Cyber Lawyer and an Arbitrator with Ministry for IT. This is as per his personal experience and for awareness purposes only !
Disclaimer: The intention of this article is to just reveal harsh realities of Delhi School Admissions as depicted in the movie Hindi Medium as well and not to expose or cause harm to any one in any way, therefore have tried not to use any particular names !