Constitutional Right of an Education

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Constitutional Right of an Education. The Indian Constitution is understood to be a document committed to social justice. As per expert opinion, literacy forms the cornerstone for creating the supply of equality of opportunity a reality. The Indian Constitution has therefore recognized education because the essence of social transformation, as is obvious from its education specific Articles.

The due process of law from which the correct to education emanated as a fundamental right was from the one rendered by the Supreme Court in Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka[1], During this case the Supreme Court through a division bench comprising of Justice Kuldip Singh and R.M. Sahai, choosing the constitutional of the practice of charging capitation held that:

‘The correct to education flows directly from the correct to life. The proper to life and therefore the dignity of a private can’t be assured unless it’s in the course of the correct to education.’

The rationality of this judgment was further examined by a five judge bench in J.P. Unnikrishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh[2] where the enforceability and therefore the extent of the correct to education was clarified within the following words:

The right to education further means a citizen encompasses a right to call upon the State to supply educational facilities to him within the bounds of its economic capacity and development.”

The same has also been reiterated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Bandhua Mukti Morcha, etc. v. Union of India[3] specially remarked the sooner judgment made during this connection as under:

“In Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and better Education v. K.S. Gandhi[4], right to education at the secondary stage was held to be a fundamental right. In J.P. Unnikrishnan v. State, a constitution Bench had held education upto the age of 14 years to be a fundamental right…. it might be therefore incumbent upon the State to supply facilities and opportunity as enjoined under Article 39 (e) and (f) of the Constitution and to stop exploitation of their childhood thanks to indigence and vagary.”

Claim for Right to Education

The ‘right’ to education provides a framework for accepting that basic education is an entitlement of each and every citizen regardless of religious, ethnic or caste affiliation or identity, gender or class, disability or ability. However the focus on access, as argued earlier, limits the agenda to a very narrowly framed policy agenda which is concerned more with meeting international targets for enrolment and universalization, than with taking into account some of the traditional relationships which have shaped exclusion. Little has been done to alter in a meaningful way the relationships between state administrators, elite village leadership, teachers and the poorer, low-caste groups within their communities (Subramanian 2000).

Without an attempt to reorder these relationships through building alternative spaces and processes for hearing the perspectives of those excluded on what underpins their exclusion, what they feel about the education on offer, and how they see education fitting into their economic and social survival strategies, the right to education will have limited teeth for those who really would rely on it. Whilst many of these spaces are beginning to emerge in relation to education, far greater consolidation of these different actor groups is required through processes that enable excluded groups to develop and express voice. In this section, a brief assessment is made of the spaces and places within which participation in education takes place, is absent or needs to be strengthened.

Right to Education Act

The Right of youngsters to Free and Compulsory Education Act came into force from April 1, 2010. This was a historic day for the people of India as from these days the proper to education are going to be accorded the identical position because the right to life as provided by Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. Every child within the age bracket of 6-14 years are provided 8 years of instruction in an age appropriate classroom within the vicinity of his/her neighborhood.

The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A within the Constitution of India to produce free and compulsory education of all children within the people of six to 14 years as a Fundamental Right in such a fashion because the State may, by law, determine. the proper of youngsters to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which represents the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, implies that every child contains a right to full time teaching of satisfactory and equitable quality in a very formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards.

Article 21-A and also the RTE Act came into effect on 1 April 2010. The title of the RTE Act incorporates the words ‘free and compulsory’. ‘Free education’ implies that no child, apart from a toddler who has been admitted by his or her parents to a college which isn’t supported by the acceptable Government, shall be prone to pay any quite fee or charges or expenses which can prevent him or her from pursuing and completing teaching. ‘Compulsory education’ casts an obligation on the suitable Government and native authorities to produce and ensure admission, attendance and completion of instruction by all children within the 6-14 people. With this, India has moved forward to a rights based framework that casts a legal obligation on the Central and State Governments to implement this fundamental child right as enshrined within the Article 21A of the Constitution, in accordance with the provisions of the RTE Act.

Major Provisions of RTE Act

Every child between the age of six to fourteen years, shall have the correct to free and compulsory education in an exceedingly neighborhood school, till completion of education.

For this purpose, no child shall be vulnerable to pay any quite fee or charges or expenses which can prevent him or her from pursuing and completing education.

Where a toddler above six years old has not been admitted to any school or though admitted, couldn’t complete his or her instruction, then, he or she shall be admitted in an exceedingly class appropriate to his or her age.

For concluding the provisions of this Act, the acceptable government and native authority shall establish a college, if it’s not established, within the given area, within a period of three years, from the commencement of this Act.

The Central and also the State Governments shall have concurrent responsibility for providing funds for effecting the provisions of this Act.

This Act is a necessary step towards improving each child’s accessibility to secondary and better education. The Act also contains specific provisions for disadvantaged groups, like child labourers, migrant children, children with special needs, or those that have an obstacle due to social, cultural, economic, geographical, linguistic, gender or any such factor. With the implementation of this Act, it’s also expected that problems with school dropout, out-of-school children, and quality of education and availability of trained teachers would be addressed within the short to medium term plans.

The enforcement of the proper to Education Act (External website that opens in a very new window) brings the country closer to achieving the objectives and mission of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA) and hence could be a historic step taken by the govt. of India.


Quote Justice PN Bhagwati, Former Chief Justice of India:

The child is a soul with a being, a nature and capacities of its own, who must be helped to find them, to grow into their maturity, into a fullness of physical and vital energy and the utmost breadth, depth and height of its emotional, intellectual and spiritual being; otherwise there cannot be a healthy growth of the nation.”

Every generation looks up to the subsequent generation with the hope that they shall build up a nation better than the current. Therefore education which empowers the longer term generation should be the most concern for any nation. It’s now an undisputed proven fact that right to education may be realized on a national level only through compulsory education, or better say, through free compulsory primary education. However thanks to the widespread poverty and various prejudices within the society, the efforts to develop an academic system in India with full access, equality and quality of education has not been achieved. the shortcoming to test the dropout rates among the marginalized sections of the population is another reason behind worry.

[1] 1992 AIR 1858

[2] 1993 AIR 2178

[3] 1984 AIR 802

[4] 1991 SCALE (1)187

Written By

Avidha Tiwari

New Law College, Pune

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