"Arguments by all parties concluded before the court today. The bench has reserved its judgment and we expect it to come after Diwali vacation," high court government pleader S K Shinde told TOI on Friday. The matter is being heard by the high court division bench of justices A S Oka and Revati Mohite-Dhere.
The schools have cited the Supreme Court judgment of 2012 to contend that the RTE Act provisions were not applicable to unaided minority institutions.
However, the Pune zilla parishad (ZP), which had directed the schools to cancel their 2013-14 admissions for not adhering to the 25% quota provision, insisted that the schools had received aid in the form of concessions in property tax, lease of land from the government and thus cannot be viewed as unaided.
At a previous hearing, the court had observed that whether facilities like concession in property tax can be termed as 'aid' requires a wider debate. This is also to determine whether the petitioner schools get any aid from the state, the Centre or the local authority to fall within the ambit of the RTE Act provisions.
Shinde said, "We have argued on behalf of the state that it is for the Central government to decide and clarify as to what constitutes an aid or grant vis-a-vis applicability of the 25% quota, considering that RTE is a central enactment. The court has no jurisdiction over the matter."
Apart from the Bishop's and St Mary's, Saraswati Vidyalaya (SV) Union school is the third petitioner. Minority institution head P A Inamdar also filed a separate petition.
In May, the high court had allowed the three schools of Bishop's to fill 75% of its seats on a first-come-first-served basis while the admissions to the remaining 25% seats will be subject to the outcome of the court's final order. A similar relief was also given to St Mary's and the other schools.