Right to Education (RTE) is one of the most important bills passed by the Parliament with regard to the education sector of the country. This act was implemented on April 1, 2010 and according to this Act, free and compulsory education should be provided to every child in the age group of 6-14 years. Both government and private institutions had to comply with this act. Private schools had to reserve 25% of their seats for underprivileged students. The cost for the educational facilities provided by the schools for these students would be reimbursed by the government. By implementing this act, India became one among the 135 countries in the world which made education a fundamental right for every juvenile.
What and How
On 24th October 2016, the Central government submitted an affidavit in the Delhi High Court which stated that all the government schools were complying with the rules mentioned in the RTE Act and were providing education free of cost to underprivileged children. The schools were also reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they were adhering to the provisions of the Act.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) also mentioned in the affidavit that under the ‘Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan’, the HRD ministry had sanctioned the construction of over 44,000 school buildings, over 7 lakh classrooms, over 5 lakh toilets, and 34,000 drinking water facilities to Union Territories and States after the implementation of the RTE Act in April, 2010. This was done to improve the infrastructure of the schools to provide quality education to its students.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in which government-run and government-aided schools did not require a recognition certificate for complying with the rules of RTE act. At present, only private educational institutions are receiving such certificates which can be renewed by them every 3 years. MHRD requested the HC to dismiss this PIL as the claims made in it does not have any merit.
The government submitted this affidavit because a PIL was filed by an NGO – Independent Thought. The NGO claimed that the government-run schools did not have to obtain a recognition certificate and if this was deliberately done by the government, by the inclusion of section 18 (1) in the RTE act, it would violate the Constitution of the country.
The recognition certificate issued by the State government is of great importance as every school in the state needs to obtain it in order be recognized by the State Government. The schools that did not obtain this certificate would be classified as unrecognized and they would have to pay hefty fines.