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A Detailed Analysis Of Right To Education

Right To Education:

  • Art. 21A was brought into the Indian Constitution in 2002 by virtue of the 86th amendment to the Indian Constitution.
  • However, it would amount to folly if we assume that the aspect emerged out of Art. 21A.
  • In 1989, the Karnataka Government had issued a notification which allowed the Private Medical Colleges which has admitted students ( not under Government Quota) to charge them with exorbitant fees, ( the notification allowed the students admitted under Government seat to pay Rs. 2,000 an annum, 25,000 for students not admitted under state quota and finally, up to 60,000 for students from outside Karnataka
  • The Court in this case had the opportunity to test the ambit of Right to Education.
  • This was duly challenged by a student named Miss. Mohini Jain ( a resident of UP).
  • The Court was of the opinion that the right to education is a very important right, it went onto read UDHR into the Constitution to substantiate its reasoning.
  • It spoke on Access to Education and about capitation fees.
  • Reading in a positive obligation of the State, the Court ruled that the State under Article 21 has to provide adequate educational institutions at all levels, but is, however, silent on free and compulsory education at any level.

Right To Education: To Be Or Not To Be

  • Mohini Jain�s case was a division bench judgement and the issue did not rest there.
  • Soon enough the issue cropped up in Unni Krishnan�s case the very next year.
  • In Unni Krishnan�s case, the Court disagreed with the judgement of Mohini Jain and held that the scope and content of the right to education and went on to hold that the right meant free and compulsory education until fourteen years of age.
  • Using Articles 41, 45, and 46 under the DPSP, the Court concluded that the constitutional scheme required an intense focus on primary education.
  • While the Court is undoubtedly correct in deciphering the constitutional emphasis on primary education, it has no real explanation for excluding all other levels of education from the right to education, other than the economic rationale that the state does not have the economic means to provide the same.

Right To Education

  • The Parliament inserted Article 21A into the Constitution, making free and compulsory education until the age of fourteen a fundamental right some nine years after the judgment of the Supreme Court in Unni Krishnan�s case.
  • In pursuance of this mandate, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE Act) was passed by Parliament, which required all schools, including private unaided schools, to set aside 25 per cent of their seats for children belonging to �disadvantaged groups� and �weaker sections�.
  • The RTE Act and the unbecoming discrimination.
  • The Society for unaided Private Schools, Rajasthan challenged the validity of the RTE Act being made applicable to all the Institutions.
  • The Issue before the Supreme Court was whether the RTE Act violated Art. 19(1)(G) and Secondly, can the RTE Act be made applicable to the minority education institution as well.
  • The Supreme Court answered Yes and No.
  • Yes, that it can be extended to all institutions and No, that it can�t be extended to the minority institutions, especially when they are unaided.
  • The Right guarantted under Mohini Jain was first diluted in Unni Krishnan�s case, and it has been further diluted in Society for unaided Private Schools, Rajasthan.
Written By: Shashwata Sahu, Advocate, LL.M., KIIT School of Law

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