Right to Free Education

Right to Free Education

rteRight to free education for the children between age of 6 to 14 years are very fundamental for the development any nation. An illiterate nation can never advance and shall always remain poverty and corruption stricken nation. India has also not advanced on the front of literacy much. There are certain States in India like Kerala, Sikkim etc.which have obtained the optimum but literacy is still at minimum level in most other states. I may venture to say that the Governments, Central or State have not endeavored to provide enough funds for opening adequate number of schools in the country to provide education to the children. It has been an abject failure on the part of governments.

Just compare it. My grand daughter who is born and lives in Canada was registered in her neighborhood school the day she was born. By the age of 2 and 12 yes. she started to go to a Play School where my daughter had to pay Can$ 250 per month as she wanted to keep the daughter engaged. But when she completed 4 yes, my daughter was invited to admit her in a regular school in the neighborhood. The school was and more children were to be admitted, the school started adding new rooms in the school with the result it has become a huge school but it has admitted all the children in the school. They have not taken the excuse that they have no funds to raise further construction.The State was aware of its obligations.In Canada, education and health care are free for all its citizens unlike ours. Now from Sept.4, she has started going to her regular school.

Here also, many children get free education but most of the children do not either go to school as there is no school in the neighborhood or there is no incentives to go to school. Midday Meal is one incentive to attract to the schools but inadequacy of of proper schools, lack of facilities, absence of infrastructure at the school such as black board, teachers, toilets, drinking water are some of the reasons children are not interested in going to school.

Ultimately, The UPA Govt. enacted The Right to Education Act-2009 to fulfill States obligation to provide free education to children. The RTE Act was challenged before the Supreme Court wherein many contentions were raised and answered by the Court in a case entitled Society For Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan Vs. Union Of India (Reported in 2012 ( 6 ) Supreme Court Cases 1 ) where the Court laid down as under:-

311.( 1 ) Art.21-A casts an obligation on the State to provide free and compulsory education to children between 4 Yrs.to 14 yrs.

( 2 ) Right of children to get free and compulsory education can be enforced against the schools defined under S.2 (n) of the Act but not against any unaided minority or non minority schools.

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( 5 ) The appropriate Government and Local Authority have to establish neighbourhood schools within the time limit stipulated under the Act.

There are many other directions issued by the Court to implement the RTE Act-2009 but suffice to say whether the Appropriate Government and Local Authorities are opening adequate number of schools in the neighborhood to admit the children.

As a good and responsible citizens, we must see to it that the directions of the Supreme Court is implemented and the Appropriate Government and Local Authorities are not allowed to sleep like Kumbhkarna. We keep a watch on our neighborhood whether new schools are coming up or not and whether all children are being admitted to the school or not.

Let us fulfill some obligation on our part to awaken the authorities to abide by the direction of the Court.Let us be conscious of our obligations.

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AK Srivastava

The author Sh. A.K. Srivastava (@aksrivastava232) is Senior Advocate in Supreme Court of India, New Delhi where he is practicing since last 40 yrs. He had been Advocate General of Govt. of Sikkim & was Hon.Secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association for two years( 1991-92,1992-93).
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