The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide “free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine.” The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which represents the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, means that “every child has a right to full-time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards.”
Related Act & Statutes
The right of children to access free and compulsory education under the right to education act,which is enacted ender Parliament of India enacted on 4 August 2009,which describes the significance of free and compulsory education for children between 6 to 14 years in India under article 21A (under amendment in 2002) of the Indian constitution. When the Act came into force on 1st April 2010, India became one of 135 countries to come forward and make education a fundamental right of every child.
Object of law
There were three main provisions in the constitution which were modified or changed¬-
- Article 21A in Part III which initiated every child has a right to full-time elementary education which is satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies specific essential norm.
- Article 45 was modified to suit the said change.
- Clause (k ) under 51A (fundamental duties) was added to make a parent or a guardian to be responsible for providing an opportunity for education to their children between the age of 6 to 14 years.
Major points of discussion
- The right to education was formulated under Article 21 read with Article 19(a),(b)&(c) in 1978 in case Ananda Vardhanchandel v. Delhi University. In this case, judge observed that the mere disparity in nature of the rights under part III and IV of the constitution where the fundamental rights are ‘natural rights’ which people forever enjoyed and which do not need definite socio-economic conditions to be produced by the state before they can be imposed as is the case with the DPSP which are ‘man-made rights’ (1).
- In Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. UOI, the supreme court held that exploitation of child must gradually be banned, other substitutes to the child should be developed including providing education, healthcare, nutrient food, shelter etc (2).
- The question of the right to free and compulsory education was elevated in Mohini Jain on 1992, (3) popularly known as capitation fee case.issues in this case
i. Is there a ‘right to education’ guaranteed to the people of India under the Indian constitution.
ii. Under this concept of ‘capitation fee’ infract the same.
- In J P Unnikrishnan vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, the Court observed that “The right to education which is implicit in the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 must be construed in the light of the directive principles in Part IV of the Constitution. So far as the right to education is concerned, there are several articles in Part IV which expressly speak of it.” (4)
Right to Education, 2009
- Every ‘child’ has the fundamental right to free and compulsory education.
- ‘compulsory education’ means a responsibility of the appropriate government to provide “free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education to every child in the six to fourteen age group.”
- ‘Free’ means that “no child shall be liable to pay any fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education.”
- It lays down rules regarding Pupil-Teacher Ratios (PTRs).
- The employment of every teacher whether in urban or in rural areas is also ensured and maintained in a proper ratio.
- Rules for maintaining the infrastructure of the schools, decent working hours for the teachers etc. Are also laid down under the Act.
- It also suggests employing trained and well-educated teachers.
On April 10, 2017, The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced by the Minister of Human Resource Development, Mr. Prakash Javadekar in Lok Sabha. The Bill aims to amend the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 by extending the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for an appointment (5).
In August 2017, The Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The said amendment provides a two-year window to around 11 lakh private and government teachers to get prescribed minimum qualifications for an appointment (6).
Right to education for the specific age group of people play a significant role in a group of people in our society. It is a brilliant policy by the government, and its appreciated because the key to a developed nation lies in the fact that its citizens are literate enough to contribute to the country’s economy. The fate of RTE would largely be dependent on the consistent political care. Financial allocation of funds should be adequate in this respect. These are some of the challenges faced by RTE in India. The country is gradually improving the status of education which we are giving. The right to education is a fundamental right, and the legislators are putting are genuine and honest efforts to make this goal a real achievement.
- Anand Vardhan Chandel vs University of Delhi, AIR 1978, Delhi 308.
- Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India & Ors. (1997) 10 SCC 549.
- Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka (1992 AIR 1858).
- J P Unnikrishnan vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, 1993 SCC (1) 645.
- Prs | Bill Track | The Right Of Children To Free And … (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/the-right-of-children-to-free-and-compulsory-e
- Rajya Sabha Passes Rte Amendments – The Hindu. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajya-sabha-passes-rte-amendments/article1