The much vaunted Right to Education Act has been challenged in the Supreme Court as an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of private and minority schools.
An association of schools has challenged the constitutional validity of RTE Act in the Supreme Court saying the government was trying to enforce reservation and regulate affairs of private unaided and minority educational institutions in complete breach of an 11-judge Bench verdict of the apex court.
Under the Act free and compulsory education was made a fundamental right for children between 6-14 years and it mandated that even private educational institutions have to reserve 25 per cent of the seats for children from poor families.
The Association, which claims to represent 100 unaided and minority schools, argued that this virtually means these institutions must admit whichever child turns up till they run out of the quota seats. It argued that the blanket ban on interviews robs schools of their right to decide the kind of student they want.
Admission tests and interviews are already banned in Delhi under a high court judgment but many schools do run unofficial checks on the family backgrounds, income and educational qualifications of the parents.
The petitioners have faulted the “neighbourhood school” concept too, saying it “discriminates” between children. For instance, a child from a slum bordering an upscale locality may have an elite school in his “neighbourhood” while a child from another slum or a village may not.
Besides, the clause will tie many poor children to bad government schools in their locality, denying them possible free education under the weaker-section quota in a better state-aided school elsewhere.