The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which makes it compulsory for the government and private unaided schools to reserve 25% seats for the economically weaker sections of the society.
By a majority view, a three-judge Bench of chief justice SH Kapadia and justices KS Radhakrishnan and Swantanter Kumar upheld the validity of provisions of the law that made the Right to Education a fundamental right of children in the age group 6 to 14 years.
The judgment said that the Act will apply uniformly to the government and unaided-private schools except unaided private minority schools.
However, in his dissenting opinion, Justice Radhakrishnan took the view that the Act would not apply to both unaided private schools as also minority institutions which do not receive any aid or grant from the government.
The apex court clarified that the judgment will come into force immediately from Thursday and, hence, it will not apply to admissions granted after the enactment of the legislation. In other words, the judgment will only have a prospective affect and not retrospective affect.
Reacting to the judgment, RTE campaigner and lawyer Ashok Aggarwal said, “I am happy with the judgement. I am hoping that overall it will be a boost to the child-centric policies of the government.”
Educomp Solutions CMD Shantanu Prakash has welcomed the Supreme Court judgment, and said that it “will pave way for millions of children an access to quality education...We hope the RTE Act will be implemented in its right form and spirit, in coordination with all important stakeholders, which will hold the key to its success”.
The law was brought by introducing Article 21(A) in the Constitution, which said the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children between six and 14 years in such a manner as the state may, by law, determine.
The judgment came in response to a host of petitions filed by private institutions, including the Society for Un-aided Private Schools, Rajasthan, challenging the Act for violating their autonomy.