- The Right To Education Act evolved so much in the past. But there is still some arbitrariness in the RTE Act.
- Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act or RTE Act is a horizontally enforceable Fundamental Right. That is, the Right is enforceable against the State and Individuals.
- But the Right To Education Act have some arbitrary discrimination against private institutions and favours minority educational institutions.
- Originally Part IV of Indian Constitution, Article 45 and Article 39 (f) of DPSP, had a provision for state funded as well as equitable and accessible education.
- The first official document on the Right to Education was Ramamurti Committee Report in 1990.
- In 1993, the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in the Unnikrishnan JP vs State of Andhra Pradesh & Others held that Education is a Fundamental right flowing from Article 21.
- Tapas Majumdar Committee (1999) was set up, which encompassed insertion of Article 21A.
- The 86th amendment to the constitution of India in 2002, provided Right to Education as a fundamental right in part-III of the Constitution.
- The same amendment inserted Article 21A which made Right to Education a fundamental right for children between 6-14 years.
- The 86th amendment provided for a follow-up legislation for Right to Education Bill 2008 and finally Right to Education Act 2009.
Evolution of Right To Education as a Fundamental Right:
- Earlier, Article 45 mentions the right to education as a part of the Directive Principles. It mentions that the state should provide free and compulsory education to children up to the age of 14. The provision also mentions a timeline for this achievement(within a decade).
- Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka case 1992: In this case, the Supreme Court held that the Right to education is a part of the right to life recognised in Article 21.
- Unnikrishnan JP v. State of Andhra Pradesh case 1993: In this case, the Supreme Court held that the state was duty-bound to provide education to children up to the age of 14. Further, the SC also mentions that the state alone cannot fulfil the task. Private educational institutions, including minority institutions, have to assist the State in that.
- 86th constitutional amendment of 2002:The government provided a status of a fundamental right to the right to education. The government inserted Article 21A into the constitution.
Evolution of Right To Education Act:
- P A Inamdar vs State of Maharastra 2005 case: In this case, the court held that there shall be no reservation in private institutions, minority and non-minority institutions.
- 93rd constitutional amendment of 2005: This amendment included Clause(5) to Article 15. Under this, the State can provide for admission in institutions, including private institutions for the advancement of “backward” classes. This purposefully omitted both the aided and unaided minority educational institutions.
- In 2009, the government enacted the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act or RTE Act. The Act provides for 25 per cent reservation in private institutions.
- Society for Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India case. Private schools challenged the 25% percent reservation in the RTE Act. The court, on the other hand, upheld the validity of the legislation. But the court exempted the unaided minority institutions from providing reservation.
Suggestions to improve the Right to Education Act
- In the Sobha George v. State of Kerala case, 2016 the court held that the no-detention policy will apply to minority schools also. Further, the court also held that the minority institutions will not subject to the RTE Act. But they are subject to the fundamental rights of the Constitution. The Court demands two fundamental questions on Section 16(no-detention policy).
- Whether the provisions such as Section 16 of RTE are statutory right or Fundamental Right?
- If it is the Fundamental Right, then the minority institutions will not claim the exemption under the Pramati Educational Trust case.