Reader’s Submission: The Right to Education Act

“education is the movement from darkness to light,”  

-Alaan Bloom

Education plays an imperative role in one’s life. It instructs us and helps us to manoeuvre beyond our limits of thinking. It inspires us to lead our lives in an impeccable way. But not everyone is fortunate enough to have access to this treasure.

The Supreme Court of India asserted in Miss Mohini Jain V.  State of Karnataka, that right to life is a compendious expression for all those rights which the courts must enforce because they are basic to the dignified enjoyment of life. The right to education directly flows from right to life. The right to life under Article 21 and the dignity of an individual cannot be assured unless it is accompanied by the right to education. The State government is under an obligation to make an endeavour to provide educational facilities at all levels to its citizens. However this judgement was overruled in Unni Krishnan J.P V. State of Andhra Pradesh thus convoluting the whole matter. In order to clear the clouds of ambiguity surrounding this matter, the Indian Government in the year 2009 took a giant leap towards attaining the goal of providing education to the deprived children.

Some of the landmark judgements which clinched the social rights of the children are:

  1. Laxmikant Pandey vs. Union of India [AIR (1984) SC 469, AIR (1986) SC 276, AIR (1987) SC 232] on Adoption of Children.
  2. Shiela Barse vs. Union of India [AIR (1986) SC 1883, AIR (1988) SC 2211] on Trafficking of Children
  3. C. Mehta vs. State of Tamil Nadu [JT 1990 SC 263] on Problem of Child Labour
  4. Vishal Jeet vs. Union of India [1990 (3) SCC 318] on Problem of Child Prostitution.
  5. Gaurav Jain vs. Union of India [1997 (8) SCC 114] on Problems of Prostitution and Children forced into Prostitution

 The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to education Act (RTE) was enacted on 4 August 2009 which promulgates the importance of free and compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 to 14 years in India enshrined in the Article 21 A of the Indian Constitution. Ergo this legislation paved the path for India to become one of the 135 countries to make education a fundamental right.

The bill for passing this act was given a green signal by the cabinet on the 2ndof July 2009, by the Rajya  Sabha on 20thJuly 2009. It received President’s assent and was notified as law on 26thAugust 2009 as the Children’s Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act. The word “Compulsory Education” means a legal obligation of the concerned Government to provide free and compulsory elementary education to the children between the ages of 6 to 14 years. It not only directs the appropriate Government but also reminds the guardians and local authorities of their duties and responsibilities towards this act.

Right to Education Act makes provisions for the admission of a child to an age appropriate class. It lays down the guidelines regarding the pupil- teacher ratio (PTR), infrastructure of the school and the working days. Children who are underprivileged in any form can get free education till class 8th or 25% of the seats in the school are to be kept for such children.

This act has faced a lot of backlash and has gone through a lot of criticism for its discrepancies but s a whole this act has lightened up the paths for many little ones who are very keen to learn and write. This will not only help them grow but will also uplift them to match the likes of educated children from the upper sections of the society.

Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which intends to provide a two-year window to around 11 lakh private and government teachers to get prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment. The Rajya Sabha recently unanimously passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory.

Acts like these have drastically changed  the lives of many citizens of this nation and such acts surely contribute towards the development of the nation and leading it towards a bright future.

– Navreet Kamal Kaur

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