Supreme Court seeks reply from Karnataka Government on plea against RTE rule

According to Parents amendment is contrary to objective of Act

On Monday, the Supreme Court sought a reply from the Karnataka Govt. on an appeal filed by a group of parents challenging an amendment in the State’s Right to Education (RTE) Rules which does not make it mandatory for private unaided schools to admit economically backward class students if there are Govt. or aided schools available in the same locality.

A Bench, led by Justice N.V. Ramana, issued notice on a petition filed by Education Rights Trust & RTE Students & Parents’ Association against the amended Rule 4 (7) of the Karnataka RTE Rules. The Karnataka High Court had in May 2019 upheld the amendment.

The petitioners contended that the amendment was contrary to the objective of the Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education Act (or RTE Act).

They have sought a direction from the apex court to the State to continue admission under 25% RTE quota in private unaided schools even if Govt. or aided schools exist in the neighbourhood.

The petitioners have appealed a decision of a Division Bench of the HC, which said that though education is a fundamental right under Article 21A of the Constitution, parents cannot insist on admission in private schools when there are seats available in the nearby Govt. & aided schools.

“When government schools exist, the State need not reimburse the cost or expenditure of the child. If the parents want to admit their child to private unaided schools, it is their decision, for which the government is not liable or accountable,” the HC had reasoned.

The contention raised by the petitioners that the amendment was arbitrary, saying the standing of Govt. schools would be put to risk if parents insist on using the RTE quota to gain admission exclusively in private schools had been declined by the HC.

An Obligation to allow admission to unaided schools & reimburse fees would arise only in the absence of Govt. schools in the locality, Court agreed with the State’s argument.

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