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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Supreme Court: No hope for children studying in Minority un-Aided Primary Schools under RTE

The Judgement came as a surprise for me as well especially the orders on non-aided minority schools.
Now, RTE sans Sections 12(1)(c) and 18(3) shall be appicable on all schools including non-aided minority primary schools.
Very interesting, strange and far reaching in its impact, the order promoted status quo for existing un-aided minority primary schools and RTE for others.
It's interesting to see that the judgement qualifies RTE Act vis a vis non aided minority schools on the apparent ground of "preservation of culture and script" and what about aided private minority schools, as if they have no right to preserve culture and script. So selective use of this justification for non-aided minority schools fall short of real reasoning and logic, which is ironic.
One has to understant it in perspective that what was so compelling for the court to exempt this section of schools, though principles laid down by the Apex court on many occassion, very clealy validated the regualtion on registration and maintenance of academic standards of private educational institutions including minoirty institutions. 
Despite, clarifications on the part of Union HRD Ministry that 25% free seats for socialy and economically backward section of nation in private schools is not reservation rather a mechanism to curb social exclusion.
But terming it 'reservation' by the Court made it more complex because by doing this the upper cap of 50% reservation came as an obstacle for minority schools to give away the share of minority children from the 50% legitiamte share. 
For me the Court could have, only for the purpose of RTE Act, made exception to the existing 50% cap in Minority Primary Schools and rather would have allowed continuing / non-interfrence in the existing 50% and adding another 25% for the children of groups intented under RTE Act.
Even more, frustrating that the order exempt non-aided minority schools from the application of section 18(3), which reads as "on contravention of the conditions of recognition, the prescribed authority shall, by an order in writing withdraw recognition" 
Which would mean that the standards vis a vis school infrastructure/building, academic standards, teacher-pupil ratio etc. as prescribed in Section 19 read alongwith schedules of the Act as the main guiding principle for giving recognition to schools including un-aided minority primary schools but Section 18(3) will have no application as per the Coourt's order. Interesting, all standards for schools will equally apply to the un-aided minority primary schools but their recognition can not be withdrawn on ground of violation of any such standards. therefore, in absence of any accountability mechanism for such schools, the question is that why they will bother to follow any standards and in effect the children from minority schools would be deprived of the quality assured under the Act. This is'nt injustice to them? Also, section 21A follows from Article 21 along with the Directiove Principle and not the directive principle alone under Articles 41, 45 and 46 as emphasized in the Court order.
In effect, the existing un-aided minority primary schools will exist for eternity unregulated by virture of this Order. and this order will make the new un-aided minority primary schools even more difficult to get a recognition under RTE Act.
Very strange state of affair. 
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Best

Nadim Nikhat
Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy 
National Law School of India University
Nagarbhavi
Bangalore- 560242, Karnataka   
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