India’s apex monitor of the implementation of the Right To Education (RTE) Act has questioned the absence of a clear grievance redress structure for the law a year after it was implemented.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) also cited tardiness on the part of most state governments, which have failed to notify key rules to implement the Act. The Act gives all children between 6 and 14 years the legal right to demand schooling.
“There is definite tardiness. We have written repeatedly to state governments, and will continue to write to them,” Kiran Bhatty, national RTE coordinator at the NCPCR said today.
The NCPCR has also proposed model guidelines for a grievance redressal structure to the human resource development ministry. The law ministry is examining the guidelines.
The idea behind giving the watchdog role to the NCPCR, chaired by Magsaysay Award winner Shantha Sinha, is to ensure an independent monitor instead of the human resource development ministry both implementing and monitoring.
Section 36 of the Act requires state governments to appoint designated local authorities, who alone are empowered to sanction prosecution of school or government officials for corporal punishment, conducting screening tests or running unrecognised schools.
But only 13 out of India’s 35 states and Union Territories have notified either rules accompanying the Act, or notified these authorities, Vinod Raina, a member of the National Advisory Council on the RTE Act said. State-specific rules are critical because they outline commitments of state governments on standards they will ensure and details of how they will implement the RTE Act. “The absence of a grievance redress structure means no one really knows who ought to deal with specific complaints,” Sinha said.