New Delhi: In a major development, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Bill making it mandatory for private schools to reserve 25% seats for children of economically weaker sections of society.
The RTE judgement will come into effect from Thursday and the court said prior admissions would not be affected.
A bench comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia and Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Swantanter Kumar, which had reserved its verdict on August 3 last year, upheld provisions of the law which made right to education a fundamental right of children in the age group of 6-14 years.
The RTE Act will be applicable for day schools and not for boarding schools. The RTE Act will also not be applicable in private minority schools.
Reacting to the judgement, RTE campaigner and lawyer Ashok Aggarwal said, "I am happy with the judgement. I am hoping that overall it will be a boost to the child centric policy of the government."
The order was passed on a bunch of petitions by private unaided institutions which contended that the Act violates the rights of private educational institutions under Article 19(1)(g) which provided autonomy to private managements to run their institutions without governmental
During the marathon arguments in the case which went for many months, the Centre had defended the law saying it was aimed at uplifting the socially and economically weaker section of society.
The Centre had emphasised the need to de-link merit and talent from social and economic differences among different sections of society and said that the act calls for "moving
towards composite classrooms with children from diverse backgrounds, rather than homogeneous and exclusivist schools".
The main petitioner Society for Un-aided Private Schools, Rajasthan, and a host of associations representing various private schools questioned the validity of the Act on the ground that it impinged on their rights to run the educational institutions.
With PTI Inputs