SC upholds constitutional validity of RTE Act

All except private unaided minority schools will have to reserve 25% seats at entry level for children from economically weaker sections


Jasleen Kaur | April 12, 2012

The supreme court on Thursday upheld the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which mandates 25 percent free seats to the poor in government and private unaided schools uniformly across the country. All government, local and private schools, including minority schools which are either aided or are built on land taken from the government at a subsidised rate, will have to reserve the said percent of seats at the entry level for children.

By a majority view, a three-judge bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swantanter Kumar said the act will apply uniformly to government and unaided private schools except unaided private minority schools. The court had reserved its verdict on August 3, 2011, has now upheld the validity of provisions of the law that made the Right to Education a fundamental right of children in the age group of 6 to 14 years.

The main petitioner of the case was the Society for Unaided Private Schools, Rajasthan, and later other associations representing various private schools questioned the validity of the Act. They said the act impinged on their rights to run educational institutions. The petitions said that the RTE Act, 2009, is unconstitutional and violates fundamental rights.

Reacting to the judgment, lawyer and RTE campaigner Khagesh Jha, said, “It is a landmark decision. It will change the admission criteria. Until now schools had reservation in implementing the act, but now it will all be in favour of parents.”

The private schools' associations are not happy with the decision. RC Jain, president of Delhi State Public School’s Management associations, which claims to represent around 1,500 recognised schools in the capital, says it will affect education in private schools. He said, “The court should have first asked the government to improve the quality of education in their schools instead of asking us to give reservation. Parent have turned to private schools only because government schools do not impart quality education.” But he further added that schools will comply the decision.



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