Pramati Judgement on RTE

Recently a constitution bench led by Chief Justice R M Lodha upheld the validity of Articles 15(5) and Article 21A(Right to Education) of constitution, by virtue of which unaided private schools are also obligated to reserve 25 per cent seats for students from weaker sections. It, however, clarified that minority institutions could not be asked to do so since the Act did not operate on them in this respect.This decision resulted in simultaneously weakening of the article 21A

The Court reading the clause (1) of Article 30(Rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions), placed all minority schools in a regulation-free zone. Article 30 (1) recognizes the fundamental right of all minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Minority institutions here refer to both religious and linguistic minorities, as referred to within the Constitution.

The judgement has attracted criticism from various corners on below mentioned grounds.

The RTE was designed, among other things, to empower the underprivileged sections of society to benefit from the best of minority institutions. It was also supposed to educate and expose children of privileged sections to the reality of inequality in this country by making them share space daily with children from deprived sections of society.RTE further includes the requirement to have trained teachers

The implication of the judgment in Pramati is that minority schools will continue to be permitted to charge any amount of fees, prescribe any admission criteria, may have any quality of teachers and discriminate against any class of citizens without being answerable in any court of law to the government or to aggrieved parents. This is because the provisions of the Act which provide for these restraints will have no applicability to the minority schools.

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