New Delhi: Refraining granting a stay, the
SC on Monday agreed to examine the validity of the
provision of Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act
which mandated 25% of reserved seats for economically
backward sections in private unaided schools.
A bench of Chief Justice SH Kapadia, justices KS
Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar did not favour at the moment
the idea of referring the matter to a Constitution Bench.
"At the moment we are not going to stay the statutory
provision. We are not passing any order," the bench said when
Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising urged the court to
refrain from passing any order on the plea of private schools
challenging the provision and seeking a stay.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for a
consortium of private schools, however, maintained that the
organisation was not pressing for a stay but suggested that
the matter be examined by a Constitution bench in view of its
impact on the rights of private educational institutions.
The Chief Justice said the court cannot refer the
matter to a Constitution bench as it was hard pressed with
other work and would only prolong the hearing.
He, however, said the three-judge bench would initially
examine the matter and only if warranted refer it to a
Constitution Bench. The matter was posted for further
hearing to Friday.
Earlier, the ASG said the Act has been formulated in tune
with the constitutional provisions of equality and providing
free education to the underprivileged.
The main petitioner Society for Un-aided Private Schools,
Rajasthan, and a host of associations representing various
private schools have questioned the validity of the Act on the
ground that it impinged on their rights to run the educational