Justice Manmohan said all candidates having equal marks shall be considered equal by conducting a draw of lots.
The Delhi government Feb 27 issued a notification scrapping the inter-state transfer category under which it used to give five additional points to children whose parents were transferred to the national capital from another state.
The court was hearing a plea filed by some parents against the city government's decision to scrap the inter-state transfer category points.
As per direction No.3 of the Feb 27 notification, draw of lots were to be conducted afresh only for the vacated seats and between candidates who were not successful in the first round of the draw and for those whose points were reduced after scrapping of the inter-state transfer category.
However, the court was of the view that "all equals have to be treated alike" and "all children who have secured equal points should participate in a single draw of lots".
The court also held that if draw of lots was not held amongst candidates who had secured equal marks, "it would result in discrimination and disadvantage to a few candidates. This court is further of the view that inconvenience and delay cannot be grounds for denying equality before law".
The court refused to stay the Lt. Governor's order of scrapping the inter-state transfer category, while noting the submissions of the Lt. Governor that a large number of fictitious and fraudulent applications were received in the category.
Counsel Raju Ramachandran, appearing for Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, told the court that on the basis of a survey of 58 leading schools, it was found that approximately 46.8 percent of open seats were claimed under that quota and 844 out of 1,520 applications were not genuine.
Refusing to stay the transfer quota, Justice Manmohan said: "This court is prima facie of the view that respondent authorities (Lt. Governor) were within their jurisdiction to delete the five points on account of inter-state transfer."
The court agreed with the contentions of parents, who sought fresh draw, that if a draw of lots is now held for remaining seats vacated by the transfer candidates among candidates who were initially unsuccessful in the draw of lots, then the candidates who had initially secured points on account of transfer would be in a disadvantageous position and their chance of admission would stand reduced.
"Consequently, only direction 3 of the impugned order dated Feb 27 is stayed and it is directed that all candidates having equal marks shall be considered equally by conducting a fresh draw of lots, wherever necessary," the court said.
Advocate Nidhesh Gupta, appearing for the petitioners, said the notification was unjustified as the petitioners' children had already been successful in the draw of lots.
However, opposing the fresh draw of lots, counsel Ramachandran said that as a large number of draws have already been held, legitimate expectation has arisen in favour of the parents of the successful candidates.
An interim order at this stage would cause a lot of inconvenience to the successful candidates as they would have to go through the selection process once again, he added.
He further contended that after Feb 27, a large number of schools have already conducted a second draw and any change at this stage would result in a third draw.