HC upholds RTE provision which bans holding child back upon flunking exam

Observing that child suffers intense psychological trauma if he or she is expelled or continued in same class upon failing in final exams, Bombay HC dismissed PIL challenging Right to Education Act.

Mumbai: Observing that a child suffers an intense psychological trauma if he or she is expelled or continued in the same class upon failing in the final examination, the Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a public interest litigation challenging a provision in the Right to Education Act.
Under section 16 of the Act, no child shall be held back or expelled till completion of elementary school (standard eight).

"A child who is not allowed to progress to the next standard suffers from an intense psychological trauma resulting in loss of self-worth. Holding back for want of adequate performance assessed with conventional methods like examinations places the child in a position of disadvantage in relation to his or her peers," the court said.

The division bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and S C Gupte was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Arun Joshi, director of a Solapur-based educational institute, stating that this provision had resulted in deterioration of educational standards.

The High Court, however, disagreed.

"The kind of pressure we put on our children these days... .At such a young age learning process need not be based only on exams. I was also a student and now a parent...I know how exams can be," Justice Chandrachud said.

The court observed that while enacting the RTE Act the Parliament was aware of social realities. "Assessing knowledge merely in terms of performance in examination takes a very narrow view of the purpose of education. Education must emphasise the need to initiate the child into a holistic pattern of development," the bench said, dismissing the PIL.


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