NEW DELHI: The law ministry has asked the HRD ministry to look into certain “crucial" aspects before introducing the Right to Education Bill which envisages free and compulsory education to children between 6 and 14 years. The Bill is likely to be introduced in the current session of Parliament.
HRD ministry, for instance, has been told that the concept of private unaided schools giving 25% reservation to poor children could result in litigation.
The RTE Bill stipulates that at the entry level (class I), schools should set aside 25% seats for poor children in the vicinity, the idea being that letting an underprivileged child join a private school at the entry level would help in social inclusion.
The Bill also says that private aided schools (51% aid from government) would have to give reservation to underprivileged children to the extent of the concession they get from the government.
Law ministry believes that since right to education is a fundamental right under Article 21A, any infringement could immediately result in court cases.
The Constitution gives the right to a citizen to directly seek redressal from high courts under Article 226 and the SC under Article 32 (1). Sources feel that since private schools are going to find a way out of this obligation, an aggrieved citizen would be left with no choice but go to courts.
Even if the Bill says the government would foot the bill of disadvantaged children, sources feel, social barriers are such that private schools would like to keep away from the obligation. As per current estimates, the government spends Rs 1,700 per child per year. “Right to Education is one of the most important fundamental right. Hope it does not remain a law on paper," a law ministry official said.
The law ministry has also asked HRD whether 25% reservation for poor children would be applicable to Kendriya Vidyalayas, Sainik Schools and Navodaya Vidyalayas. “We know how tough it is to get admission in Kendriya Vidyalayas. They are meant primarily for children of government employees,’’ one official said.
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