Right To Education & Illegalities
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) has a long and chequered history. However the Advisory Committee of the Constituent Assembly rejected this proposal and placed it in the category of non-justifiable fundamental rights (later known as Directive Principles of State Policy). The country witnessed an increased international focus on its initiatives regarding free and compulsory education after its participation in the World Conference on Education for All in 1990. India also ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child in 1992.
The Supreme Court of India first recognised the right to education as a fundamental right in Mohini Jain v. Union of India (1992) 3 SCC 666.
The Supreme Court of India then in the case of J P Unnikrishnan vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, 1993 SCC (1) 645 observed that under Part IV of the Constitution:
- Article 41 says that the “State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickens and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want”
- Article 45 says that “the State shall endeavor to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years”
Articles 41 and 45, meant:
(a) every child/citizen of this country has a right to free education until he completes the age of fourteen years
(b) after a child/citizen completes 14 years, his right to education is circumscribed by the limits of the economic capacity of the state and its development. We may deal with both these limbs separately.
The RTE Act Prohibits: URL
- Physical punishment and mental harassment;
- Screening procedures for admission of children;
- Capitation fee;
- Private tuition by teachers and
- Running of schools without recognition.
RTE Act 2006 Section 2 (b) defines “capitation fee” as any kind of donation or contribution or payment other than the fee notified by the school;
RTE Act 2009 Section 13: No capitation fee and screening procedure for admission
(1) No school or person shall, while admitting a child, collect any capitation fee and subject the child or his or her parents or guardian to any screening procedure.
(2) Any school or person, if in contravention of the provisions of sub-section (1),
- Receives capitation fee, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to ten times the capitation fee charged;
- Subjects a child to screening procedure, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees for the first contravention and fifty thousand rupees for each subsequent contraventions.
Andhra Pradesh Educational Institutions (Establishment, Recognition, Administration and Control of Schools Under Private Managements) Rules, 1993:
APEI Rules 1993, Section 5: Collection of capitation fee prohibited:
The collection of any capitation fee by any educational institution or by any person who is in-charge of or is responsible for the management of the institution is hereby prohibited.
APEI Rules 1993, Section 9:. Penalties: –
Whoever contravenes the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which shall not exceed seven years and with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees. Where the conviction is for an offence under Section 5 or Section 6, the institution shall refund the money so collected to the party from whom it was collected.
What We Can Do:
The Right to Education Act, 2009, explains that schools have a duty to give information to local bodies or government. Section 12 (3) says: “Every school shall provide such information as may be required by the appropriate Government or the local authority, as the case may be.
If school is established by the Government or aided, it has to provide that information as being ‘public authority’ under Right to Information Act, to every citizen seeking that information.
If school is established by private body, then the public authority (District Education Board, State Govt or Central Education Board) who gave permission to that private body to establish a school have authority to collect the information and provide the same to every citizen seeking the information U/s 2 of RTI act 2005.
Hence, parents/citizens can ask relevant information U/s 12(3) of Right To Education Act R/W RTI Act 2005 U/s 2
— Phani Desiraju