NGO Challenges Amendment To Karnataka RTE Rules That Conditionally Waives Off 25% Quota Mandate For Private Unaided Schools [Read Petition]
The RTE Students & Parents Association [R], a non-profit organisation, has filed a PIL challenging an amendment to the Karnataka Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2012, that removed the obligation of private unaided schools to admit 25% of their students from disadvantaged groups or weaker sections where there are government-run or aided schools within the neighborhood. The petitioner organisation argued that this amendment runs contrary to the purpose of the parent act, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 [Central Act 35 of 2009], and is violative of Article 21A of the Constitution of India.
Counsel for the petitioner, arguing before acting Chief Justice PS Dinesh Kumar, went through a brief legislative history of the Right to Education, starting from the introduction of Article 21A to the passing of the RTE Act. The counsel argued that the RTE Act was legislation intended to effect massive positive social transformation, as typified by Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act. Section 12(1)(c) compels schools not aided by any kinds of grants from any government or local authority to ensure that at least 25% of their batch strength for Class I is from weaker sections and disadvantaged groups from that neighbourhood.
The petitioner argued that the notification, dated 30.01.2019, issued by the (Primary Education) Education Department of the Government of Karnataka, hinders the purpose of Section 12(1)(c) by removing its applicability to neighbourhoods where government schools exist. The petitioner made it clear that the petition did not intend to disparage government schools, but merely highlight how the options available to children under the RTE Act had been unconstitutionally restricted.
It sought an interim stay on the notification during the pendency of the trial but the court refused, citing that the burden of proof lay upon the petitioner to assail the assumption of constitutionality placed on the notification. However, the court held that the petitioner had the liberty to file applications, given that admissions to the new school year would be beginning shortly.
The court then gave 4 weeks for the government to file objections.
Read the Petition Here