Right to Education for Children under Article 21A of the Constitution of India is a human right, said the Kerala High Court while directing the Government to sanction establishment of Government LP School in Elambra in Manjeri Municipality of Malappuram district.
After three decades of their struggle to get a Government Lower Primary School, the residents of Elambra in Manjeri Municipality of Malappuram district has got a reason to rejoice. The Public Interest Litigation filed by one of the residents, T. Muhammed Faisi, highlighting this cause has been allowed by the High Court.
Faisi, in his writ petition, brought to the notice of the court the social and educational backwardness of the area and the fact that there are no primary schools within the radius of 3 kilometres in this area. He submitted that during the last more than 30 years, the local residents are in continuous effort to get a new Government LP School at Elambra. He further submitted that he approached the Kerala State Human Rights Commission, which after conducting an enquiry, directed the Director of Public Instructions, to take urgent steps for opening a school at Elambra. Even after four years of this order passed by the commission, the Government did not take any action. He also submitted that the Commission for Protection of Child Rights has also passed a similar order in this regard.
Opposing this PIL, the Government contended that the petitioner cannot rely on the directions of, either the Human Rights Commission or the Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Starting new schools is the policy decision of the Government and individual requests cannot be considered, the Government said. He also said that school mapping was done by the educational authorities and it was found that there are schools existing in the nearby places and that there was no educational need for establishing a Government LP school in Elambra area.
Since one of the contentions raised by the Government was that a writ of mandamus cannot be passed to enforce an order passed by the Kerala State Human Rights Commission, the bench comprising the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly first dealt with the issue whether Right to Education for children is a human right. Referring to various decisions of the Supreme Court and also many laws in this regard, the bench held that Right to Education for Children under Article 21A of the Constitution of India is a human right.
Addressing the contention raised by the Government about 'school mapping', the Court observed that Rule 14 of the Kerala Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011 referred to by the Government, affidavit, applies to recognised private schools and not a Government school. In this regard, the court has referred to a full bench judgment. It said:
From the pleadings and material on record, it could be deduced that the people of Elambra area in Manjeri Municipality have been demanding establishment of a Government Lower Primary School, and whereas without considering the reports of local educational authorities, by erroneously applying the rules applicable to grant of recognition to private schools, in Chapter V of the Kerala Education Rules, 1959, and not following the statutory provisions and rules, in particular, Section 3(3) of Kerala Education Act, 1958, Section 3 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, and Rule 6 of the Kerala Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011, have denied sanction for establishing a Government LP School in Elambra area.. For establishing a Government LP School, people of the Elambra area of Manjeri Municipality have been fighting against the mighty Government for 35 years.
Allowing the writ petition, the bench also directed Manjeri Municipality to take urgent steps for construction of necessary buildings for the school.
Case no.: WP(C).No.8849 OF 2017(S)Case name: T. MUHAMMED FAISI vs. STATE OF KERALACoram: Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. ChalyCounsel: Advocates P.VENUGOPAL, T.J.MARIA GORETTI