The Right to Education (RTE) Act is not applicable to boarding schools, the Supreme Court said on Thursday while dismissing a petition filed by a student seeking admission under the economically weaker section (EWS) category in sixth standard in Sainik School Kunjpura, Haryana.
A bench headed by chief justice RM Lodha upheld the Punjab and Haryana high court judgment which also said the RTE mandating 25% reservation for children from the EWS was not applicable to schools not imparting elementary education.
Introduced in 2009 the RTE provides for compulsory education for students from 6 to 14 years. This also requires private unaided schools to have a quota of 25% for children from the EWS.
Minority schools are, however, exempted from this law.
The court delivered its order after Rekha Palli, counsel for the school, contended the objective behind RTE was to promote the scheme of neighbourhood schools. “It’s applicable to day scholars,” she told the court, countering the arguments of the petitioner’s counsel.
Palli placed the 2012 SC judgment that upheld the validity of RTE and said it was the top court that had specifically directed the Centre to issue guidelines making it clear that RTE could not be extended to boarders. Subsequently the Centre had come up with the guidelines, she told the court.
IN its affidavit before the top court even the ministry of human resources and development (HRD) had referred to its guideline clarifying residential private unaided schools, which start at a class higher than class 1, would not be required to admit 25% children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups.