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Updated: Aug 19, 2020

K.AMRUTHA (Koneru Lakshmaiah Deemed To Be University)

Education is recognized as a fundamental right, internationally. A constitutional commitment to education is both symbolically and practically relevant at the national level. Constitutions delineate the basic values and commitments of a country, as well as its economic and political organization. Because they are hard to repeal or amend. When administrations changes, the constitutions are relatively resistant to retrenchment. Constitutions also provide an instrument for citizens to hold governments accountable for unfulfilled commitments and violations of rights.

History:Initially, the right to education was not included as a constitutional right in India's constitution and, according to Part IV of the Indian constitution, our founding fathers considered education as a principle of state policies.

Free and compulsory education for children- The State shall strive to provide free and mandatory education for all children up to the age of 14 years within the span of ten years from the beginning of this Constitution. The Directive pursuant to Article 45 was not restricted to basic education alone, but to training up to 14 years of age, regardless of education stage.

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS: The Indian Constitution provides for schooling by the State for all its people. The right to education is the only right in three areas: Fundamental Rights, the State Policy Directive and Fundamental Duty. The Constitution Act, 2002 (Eighty Sixth) Amendment Act, added three articles in all three of the above parts. The 86th amendment added Article 21-A, which states that "the State shall provide all children aged six to 14 years, free and compulsory education in a way that the State may decide by law. Article 45 earlier stated that 'The State is endeavoring to provide free and compulsory education for all children within a span of ten years from the inception of this Constitution until the age of 14 becomes full, now being followed by the following ‘the State shall strive to provide all children with early childhood care and education until they are of age complete’. A subsection (k) was applied to Article 51-A – ‘they are parents or guardians who pay for their child's schooling or, as the case may be, wards between 6 and 14 years of age’.

Education was originally described as a state subject by the Indian constitution. But in 1976, an amendment was introduced in accordance with Article 42, which made education a topic of the competing list. This allows the central government to legislate in the right way on matters relating to education. Free and mandatory education to all children aged 6-14 years of age on 1 April 2010, nearly 8 years after the constitution was modified in an updated 86th amendment act to make schooling a fundamental right, the government of India introduced the legislation. ‘The Children's Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act’ or ‘Access to Education Act’ is an act of the Parliament of India that was passed on 4 August 2009. It outlines procedures and also specifies, in keeping with Article 21A of the Indian Constitution, the value of free education and mandatory education in India for children between 6 and 14 years old. Every child is entitled to education under this Act. The Act obliges the relevant governments to insure that any child between the ages of 6 and 14 receives free elementary education. The Act specifies that all private school establishments shall reserve 25% of the seats for children from the poorest areas. The Government's estimation has indicated that there would be a need of Rs.1.71 Lakh Crores, for the operation of the Act during the next five years.

Although the Right to Education Act legalizes the constitutional right to free education, this act is evidently silent on increasing government education outlay. In the past, concerns within private organizations have also raised several objections. Instead of the fair and impartial schooling based on shared equality explicitly set down in the amendment, such a clause closes down the vulnerable as a community and thus deepens the social inequalities that still exist within our culture. The Act also limits its scope to children between the ages of 6 and 14, following on from the lines of the Constitutional Amendment.

Another significant point of concern is that schooling children up to Class 8 is hardly enough to either provide a child with the specific skills required and necessary for gainful employment or even render an adult prepared to work with a reasonable degree of self-sufficiency and confidence in this competitive environment. It is, after all, the right to education provision, not the right to literacy and numeracy alone. Economically weaker (EWS) children must be admitted in compulsory fashion and carefully handled by the school staff. School education cannot be segregated from its social background, since those who teach and study take various views, values, practices, behaviors and orientations from class to class and caste to caste with them. The Elite schools have their own culture and learning atmosphere that suits high school children but can be considered inconsiderate to children in the poorer region.

Right to Education Act, 2009:

Education was initially established as a state subject in the Indian Constitution. In 1976, an amendment was introduced in line with Article 42, which made education a part of the competitive list. It helps the central government to legislate in the correct way in matters relating to education. Free and mandatory education for all children aged between 6 and 14 years, from 1 April 2010 was introduced by the government of India almost eight years after the constitution had been amended by the 86th amending act , in order to make education a fundamental right.

This Act, adopted on 4 August 2009, is a law of the Parliament of India, enacted 'The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Law' It specifies the procedures and also the importance, in compliance with Article 21A of the Indian Constitution, of Free and Obligatory Education in India for children between 6 and 14 years of age. Each child is entitled to education by this Act. The Act obliges the respective governments to provide free basic education for all children between the ages of 6-14. The Act calls for the allocation of 25 percent seats for children in poorer sections including by private education institutions.

The most significant characteristics of the RTE Act are:

The state governments and local bodies have to make sure every child receives education in the neighborhood school.

The Act requires that 25% of the seats of children from the weaker sections should be reserved even to private education institutions.

The school management committee or municipal authority shall recognize children who are neglected or have not been taught for more than six years and shall accept them to age-specific class following special preparation.

Any children must obtain free primary education from local governments.

The teachers shall comply with the criteria within three years in the case of schools that have no qualified teachers.

Schools must have minimum qualified facilities such as suitable teachers, a playground and an infrastructure.

The Government must create some mechanism to implement the provisions of the Act through deprived schools.

Switch to basic education rights:

Article 21-A ("Right to Education") was introduced into the Constitution of India by the act of 2002. Defining education as a basic right Article 21-A provides that "the state shall provide free and compulsory schooling for all children of 6 to 14 of age in the ways which the state may in the law”. The Supreme Court of India ruled in 1992 before Article21-A was included that the right to education flows through Article-21, as regards to right to life.

Children's right to free and obligatory education, 2009,

The Children's Right to Free Education and Compulsory Education Act of 2009, also known as the Right to Education Act (RTE Act). The core provisions of the RTE Act include:

1. This provides for all children aged between 6 and 14 free and compulsory education.

2. A child shall not pay for primary education any school fees, charges or costs of capitation.

3. Not admitted into school or unable to continue his or her studies or parallel to his or her class and admitted as a respective age group, a special training scheme for children over six years of age is provided. For these cases, the child may remain for primary education for more than 14 years.

4. A child from this school may take a transfer to any other government or government-assisted school if a school does not have the facility to complete primary education.

5. Every child always has the right to written and standard free text books.

6. It also includes that, at 1 km distance from the school for children in classes I to V and 3 km for those from Classes VI to VIII, central or state government and its affiliates must offer a school. They are called 'neighborhood schools.'

7. The government must conduct school mapping in order to determine the school's location.

8. The RTE students funded by the government are given 9.25% of seats in private schools. The Center and the State share the common duty of funding the introduction of the RTE.

Judicial approach :

Mohini Jain v. Karnataka State And Ors 1992 AIR 1858, 1992 SCR (3) 658

Unless the right to education were put into effect, basic rights will be beyond the control of an illiterate large majority. Capitation fees are only a sales price, and that leads to the promotion of preparation. The Court observed that capitation charges are nothing more than a premium for the selling of education which would mean that education is commercialized. The court considered that the State's obligation to educate all people at all levels was extremely expanding. This strategy created functional obstacles for private education institutions and the state to address everyday economic problems. In the court's analysis, it was presumed that teaching was not a career under subparagraph (g) in Article 19 of clause (6).

The State of Andra Pradesh V. Unni Krishnan And Ors 1993 AIR 2178, 1993 SCR (1) 594

If Article 21 is read with Articles 41, 45, and 46 the right to education is inferred, but merely relying upon the principles of Directive per se means that any duty placed on the principles of Directive is immediately included in Article 21. The obligation of the State to provide education shall be limited until the infant reaches the age of 14 years and beyond, and shall be subject to economic capacity limits and state development. State schools or private aided schools shall be free to discharge the responsibility of the state. Article 14 exists and its operation cannot be omitted by extra intervention of State agencies. The Court developed a system for the level of fees charged by private schools. In the case of TMA Pai foundation, the scheme set up by the court in the Unni Krishnan, enforced by the Legislature, was deemed an arbitrary restriction in Article 19, clause 6.

Right to education law achievements,2009

1. The RTE Act succeeded in the rates of primary higher registration (Class 6-8).

2. Stricter infrastructure requirements have led to better school infrastructure, especially in rural areas.

3. Admission under the 25% RTE quota standard has been secured for over 33 million students.

4. Education is globally inclusive and accessible.

5. Removal of "no policy on detention" has opened the system of primary education to transparency.

6. An integrated school education system, known as Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, has also been initiated by the State, which subscribes to three school education schemes:

  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)

  • Rashtriy Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)

  • Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Teacher Education (CSSTE).


Therefore, in the final remarks the mere passing of an act is not expected to be adequate. It takes time to ensure the operation of the act is properly reviewed. It has to be controlled continuously and made a powerful political will. According to the 2010 UNESCO "Education for all the global surveillance report," approximately 135 countries have constitutional provisions for free and non-discriminatory education for all. In achieving universal primary education in India, the much awaited Right to Education (RTE) Law passed by the Indian Parliament should play an important role. RTE will rely primarily on clear political care to achieve victory and failure. Youth in India should grow and propagate the value of education to all those who are unable to realize the significance of education in mitigating social evils. Any community should be exempted from social distinctions and monopolies for some reason. Cost free schooling up to a certain level must be available to everyone. The government's successful strategy is to include jobs and affordable schooling for everyone except for a certain age demographic, except we understand that a secret to the developing country is that it is properly educated by its people so they will earn bread and invest in the economy. The right to education is fundamental right for everyone and UNESCO education for all by 2015 will face both scrutiny and respect concurrently in any coin. India should also make sincere and truthful attempts to render this target a real accomplishment like other countries in the world.

References :

[DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information only. We have tried to include as much information as possible but there are chances that some important information may have been missed .It is NOT to be substituted for legal advice or taken as legal advice. The publishers of the this article shall not be liable for any act or omission based on this note].

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