The Rajasthan high court directed the state government on Friday to restore the categories of children excluded from admission to private schools under the right to education Act, 2009.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act stipulates that private schools reserve 25% of seats at the entry level for children belonging to disadvantaged groups and weaker sections.
In a notification issued on March 28, the state government limited the RTE admissions to children from below the poverty line (BPL) families.
Under a 2011 notification, children from other backward classes (OBC), special backward classes (SBC) and from families whose annual income is up to `2.5 lakh were also eligible for RTE admissions.
A division bench of acting chief justice Ajay Rastogi and justice Dinesh Chandra Somani ruled that the March 28 notification violated the RTE Act and article 21 (a) of the Constitution, which provide for free and compulsory education to every child.
The court said the March 28 notification was beyond the government’s competence and asked it to restore the 2011 notification that included all categories of children from poor families, said Anuroop Singhi, counsel for the petitioner.
Hearing a PIL filed by NGO Abyuthanam, the court directed the government to invite fresh applications from children of the categories excluded, club them with earlier ones and hold a lottery for admission to private schools, said Singhi.
He said 3,29,000 applications were received last year and 1,59,000 this year after the notification.
The government has to allocate `17,000 for a child under the RTE but it limited the categories to cut costs, Singhi said.
Additional advocate general SK Gupta said, “The government wanted to streamline the admission process in private schools as many times funds were siphoned off by these schools.”