SC on RTE ACT Society for Un-aided Private Schools of Rajasthan Vs U.O.I.





Society for Un-aided Private Schools  of Rajasthan        … Petitioner(s)


U.O.I. & Anr.                                                                           …Respondent(s)

     with Writ Petition (C)  Nos.  98/2010,  126/2010,  137/2010,  228/2010,

     269/2010, 310/2010,  364/2010,  384/2010,  21/2011,  22/2011,  24/2011,

     47/2011,  50/2011,  59/2011,  83/2011,   86/2011,   88/2011,   99/2011,

     101/2011, 102/2011, 104/2011, 115/2011, 118/2011,  126/2011,  148/2011,

     154/2011, 176/2011, 186/2011, 205/2011, 238/11 and 239/11.





     1.     We have had the benefit of  carefully  considering  the  erudite    judgment delivered by our esteemed and learned  Brother  Radhakrishnan,      J.  Regretfully, we find ourselves in the unenviable position of having      to disagree with  the  views  expressed  therein  concerning  the  non-     applicability of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education   Act, 2009 (for short  “the  2009  Act”)  to  the  unaided  non-minority   schools.

     2.     The judgment of Brother Radhakrishnan, J.  fully  sets  out  the     various provisions of the 2009 Act as well as the  issues  which  arise     for determination, the core issue concerns the constitutional  validity     of the 2009 Act.


     3.     To say that “a thing is constitutional is not to say that it  is

     desirable” [see Dennis v. United States, (1950) 341 US 494].

     4.     A fundamental principle for  the  interpretation  of  a  written

     Constitution has been spelt out in R. v. Burah [reported  in  (1878)  5

     I.A. 178] which reads as under:

           “The established Courts  of  Justice,  when  a  question  arises

           whether the  prescribed  limits  have  been  exceeded,  must  of

           necessity determine that question; and the  only  way  in  which

           they can properly do so, is by  looking  to  the  terms  of  the

           Constitution by which,  affirmatively,  the  legislative  powers

           were created, and by which, negatively, they are restricted.  If

           what has been done is legislation, within the general  scope  of

           the affirmative words which give the power, and if  it  violates

           no express condition or  restriction  by  which  that  power  is

           limited it is not for  any  Court  to  inquire  further,  or  to

           enlarge constructively those conditions and restrictions”.


    5.     Education is a process which engages many different actors : the

    one who provides education (the teacher, the owner  of  an  educational

    institution, the parents), the one who receives education  (the  child,

    the pupil) and the one who is  legally  responsible  for  the  one  who

    receives education (the parents, the legal guardians, society  and  the

    State).  These actors influence the right to education.  The  2009  Act

    makes  the  Right  of  Children  to  Free  and   Compulsory   Education

    justiciable.  The 2009 Act envisages that each child must  have  access

    to a neighbourhood school.  The 2009 Act has been  enacted  keeping  in

    mind  the  crucial  role  of   Universal   Elementary   Education   for

    strengthening the social fabric of democracy through provision of equal

    opportunities  to  all.   The  Directive  Principles  of  State  Policy

    enumerated in our Constitution lay down that the  State  shall  provide

    free and compulsory education to all children upto the age of 14 years.

     The said Act provides for right (entitlement) of children to free  and

    compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education

    in a neighbourhood school.  The word “Free” in the long  title  to  the

    2009 Act stands for removal by the State of any financial barrier  that

    prevents a child from  completing  8  years  of  schooling.   The  word

    “Compulsory” in that title stands for compulsion on the State  and  the

    parental duty to send children to school.  To protect and  give  effect

    to this right of the child to education as enshrined in Article 21  and

    Article 21A of the Constitution, the Parliament has  enacted  the  2009


    6.     The 2009 Act received the assent of the President on  26.8.2009.

    It came into force w.e.f. 1.4.2010.  The provisions  of  this  Act  are

    intended not only to guarantee right to free and  compulsory  education

    to children, but it also envisages imparting of  quality  education  by

    providing required infrastructure and compliance of specified norms and

    standards in the schools.  The Preamble states that the 2009 Act stands

    enacted inter alia to provide for free and compulsory education to  all

    children of the age of 6 to 14 years.  The said Act has been enacted to

    give effect to Article 21A of the Constitution.

    Scope of the 2009 Act

    7.     Section 3(1) of the 2009 Act provides that every  child  of  the

    age of 6 to 14  years  shall  have  a  right  to  free  and  compulsory

    education in a  neighbourhood  school  till  completion  of  elementary

    education.  Section 3(2) inter alia provides that  no  child  shall  be

    liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may  prevent

    him or her from pursuing and completing the elementary  education.   An

    educational institution is charitable.  Advancement of education  is  a

    recognised head of charity.  Section 3(2) has  been  enacted  with  the

    object of removing  financial  barrier  which  prevents  a  child  from

    accessing education.  The other purpose of enacting Section 3(2) is  to

    prevent educational institutions charging capitation fees resulting  in

    creation of a financial barrier which prevents a child  from  accessing

    or exercising its right to education which is  now  provided  for  vide

    Article 21A.  Thus, sub-Section (2) provides that  no  child  shall  be

    liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may  prevent

    him or her  from  pursuing  or  completing  the  elementary  education.

    Section 4 inter alia provides for special provision  for  children  not

    admitted to or who have not completed elementary education.  Section  5

    deals with the situation where there is no provision for completion  of

    elementary education, then, in such an event,  a  child  shall  have  a

    right to seek transfer  to  any  other  school,  excluding  the  school

    specified in sub-clauses (iii) and (iv) of clause (n) of Section 2, for

    completing his or her elementary education.  Chapter III  provides  for

    duties of appropriate government, local authority and parents.  Section

    6 imposes  an  obligation  on  the  appropriate  government  and  local

    authority to  establish  a  school  within  such  areas  or  limits  of

    neighbourhood, as may be prescribed, where it is  not  so  established,

    within 3 years from the commencement of the 2009 Act.  The emphasis  is

    on providing “neighbourhood school” facility to  the  children  at  the

    Gram  Panchayat  level.   Chapter  IV  of  the  2009  Act  deals   with

    responsibilities of schools and teachers.  Section 12 (1)(c) read  with

    Section 2(n)(iii)  and  (iv)  mandates  that  every  recognised  school

    imparting elementary education, even if it is an  unaided  school,  not

    receiving any kind of aid or  grant  to  meet  its  expenses  from  the

    appropriate government or the local authority, is obliged to  admit  in

    Class I, to the extent of at least 25% of the strength of  that  class,

    children belonging to weaker section and  disadvantaged  group  in  the

    neighbourhood and provide free and compulsory elementary education till

    its completion. As per the proviso, if the  School  is  imparting  pre-

    school education, the same regime would apply.  By  virtue  of  Section

    12(2) the unaided school which has not  received  any  land,  building,

    equipment or other facilities, either free of cost or  at  concessional

    rate, would be entitled for reimbursement of the  expenditure  incurred

    by it to the extent of per child expenditure incurred by the State,  or

    the actual amount charged from the child, whichever is  less,  in  such

    manner as may be prescribed.  Such reimbursement shall not  exceed  per

    child expenditure incurred by a school established, owned or controlled

    by the  appropriate  government  or  a  local  authority.   Section  13

    envisages that no school or person  shall,  while  admitting  a  child,

    collect any capitation fee and subject the child or his or her  parents

    to any screening procedure.  Section 15 mandates that a child shall  be

    admitted in a school at the commencement of the academic year or within

    the prescribed  extended  period.   Sections  16  and  17  provide  for

    prohibition of holding back and expulsion and of physical punishment or

    mental harassment to a child.  Section 18  postulates  that  after  the

    commencement of the  2009  Act  no  school,  other  than  the  excepted

    category, can be  established  or  can  function  without  obtaining  a

    certificate  of  recognition  from  the  appropriate  authority.    The

    appropriate authority shall be obliged  to  issue  the  certificate  of

    recognition within the  prescribed  period  specifying  the  conditions

    there for, if the school fulfills the  norms  and  standards  specified

    under Sections 19 and 25 read with the Schedule to the  2009  Act.   In

    the event of  contravention  of  the  conditions  of  recognition,  the

    prescribed  authority  can  withdraw  recognition   after   giving   an

    opportunity of being heard to such school.  The order of withdrawal  of

    recognition  should  provide  a  direction  to  transfer  the  children

    studying in the de-recognised school to be admitted  to  the  specified

    neighbourhood  school.   Upon  withdrawal  of  recognition,   the   de-

    recognised school cannot continue to function, failing which, is liable

    to pay fine as per Section 19(5).  If any person establishes or runs  a

    school without obtaining certificate of recognition,  or  continues  to

    run a school after withdrawal of the recognition, shall  be  liable  to

    pay fine as specified in Section 19(5).  The norms  and  standards  for

    establishing or for grant of recognition to a school are  specified  in

    Section 19 read with the Schedule to the 2009 Act.  All  schools  which

    are established before the commencement of the 2009  Act  in  terms  of

    Section 19(2) are expected to comply with specified norms and standards

    within 3 years from the date of such commencement.  Failure  to  do  so

    would entail in de-recognition of such school.  Section  22  postulates

    that the School Management  Committee  constituted  under  Section  21,

    shall prepare a School  Development  Plan  in  the  prescribed  manner.

    Section 22(2) provides that the School  Development  Plan  so  prepared

    shall be the basis for  the  grants  to  be  made  by  the  appropriate

    government or local authority, as the case may be.  That plan, however,

    cannot have any impact on consideration of  application  for  grant  of

    recognition  for  establishing  an  unaided  school.   To  ensure  that

    teachers should contribute in imparting quality education in the school

    itself, Section 28 imposes total  prohibition  on  them  to  engage  in

    private tuition or private teaching activities.  Chapter VI inter  alia

    provides for  protection  of  rights  of  children.   Section  32  thus

    provides that any person having grievance  relating  to  the  right  of

    child under the 2009 Act, may make a written  complaint  to  the  local

    authority having jurisdiction, who in turn is  expected  to  decide  it

    within three months after affording a reasonable opportunity  of  being

    heard to the parties concerned.  In addition, in terms of  Section  31,

    the Commissions constituted under the provisions of the Commissions for

    Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 can monitor the child’s  right  to

    education, so as to safeguard the right of the child upon receiving any

    complaint in that behalf relating to free and compulsory education.

    8.     By virtue of the 2009 Act, all schools established prior to  the

    commencement of the said Act are thus obliged to fulfill the norms  and

    standards specified inter alia in Sections 25, 26 and the  Schedule  of

    that Act. [See Section 19(2)].  The State is  also  expected  to  first

    weed out those schools which are non-performing, or under-performing or

    non-compliance schools and upon closure of such schools,  the  students

    and the teaching and non-teaching staff thereof should  be  transferred

    to the neighbourhood school.   The  provision  is  meant  not  only  to

    strengthen the latter school by adequate  number  of  students  but  to

    consolidate and to impart quality education  due  to  the  addition  of

    teaching staff.  Needless to  observe,  that  if  there  is  inadequate

    response to the government funded school, it is  but  appropriate  that

    either the divisions thereof or the school itself  be  closed  and  the

    students and staff of such schools be transferred  to  a  neighbourhood

    school by resorting to Section 18(3)  of  the  2009  Act.   Only  after

    taking such decisions could the School Development  Plan represent  the

    correct position regarding the need  of  government  aided  schools  in

    every locality across the State.  Besides, it will  ensure  proper  and

    meaningful utilization of public funds.  In absence of  such  exercise,

    the end result would be that on account of existing  non-performing  or

    under-performing or non-compliance schools, the School Development Plan

    would not reckon that locality for establishment of another school.  In

    our view, even the State Government(s), by resorting to  the  provision

    of the 2009 Act, must take opportunity  to  re-organise  its  financial

    outflow at the micro level by weeding out the non-performing or  under-

    performing or non-compliance schools receiving grant-in- aid, so as  to

    ensure that only such government funded schools, who fulfill the  norms

    and standards, are allowed to continue, to achieve the  object  of  the

    2009 Act of not only providing free and  compulsory  education  to  the

    children in the  neighbourhood  school  but  also  to  provide  quality

    education.  Thus, there is a power in the 2009  Act  coupled  with  the

    duty of the State to ensure that only such government  funded  schools,

    who fulfill the norms and standards, are allowed to continue  with  the

    object of providing free and compulsory education to  the  children  in

    the neighbourhood school.

    Validity and applicability of the 2009  Act  qua  unaided  non-minority


    9.     To begin with, we need to understand the scope of  Article  21A.

    It provides that the State shall provide free and compulsory  education

    to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years in such manner as the State

    may, by law, determine.  Thus, under the said Article,  the  obligation

    is on the State  to  provide  free  and  compulsory  education  to  all

    children of specified age.  However, under the said Article, the manner

    in which the said obligation will be discharged by the State  has  been

    left to the State to determine by law.  Thus, the State may  decide  to

    provide free and compulsory education to all children of the  specified

    age through its own schools or  through  government  aided  schools  or

    through unaided private schools.  The question is whether  such  a  law

    transgresses any constitutional limitation?  In  this  connection,  the

    first and foremost principle we have to keep in mind is  that  what  is

    enjoined by the directive principles (in this case Articles 41, 45  and

    46) must be upheld as a “reasonable restriction” under  Articles  19(2)

    to 19(6).  As far back as 1952, in State of  Bihar  v.  Maharajadhiraja

    Sir Kameshwar Singh of Darbhanga  [(1952)  SCR  889],  this  Court  has

    illustrated  how  a  directive  principle  may  guide  the   Court   in

    determining crucial questions on which the  validity  of  an  important

    enactment may be hinged.  Thus, when the courts are required to  decide

    whether the impugned law infringes a fundamental right, the courts need

    to ask the question whether the impugned law  infringes  a  fundamental

    right within the  limits  justified  by  the  directive  principles  or

    whether it goes beyond them.  For example, the scope of  the  right  of

    equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment (Article  16)

    to any office in the State appears more fully defined  when  read  with

    the obligation of the State to promote with special care  the  economic

    and other interests of the weaker sections  (Article  46).   Similarly,

    our  understanding  of  the  right  “to  practice  any  profession   or

    occupation” [Article 19(1)(g)] is clarified when  we  read  along  with

    that right the obligation of the State to see that the  health  of  the

    workers and the tender age of the children are not abused (Article 39).

     Thus, we need to interpret the fundamental rights in the light of  the

    directive principles.  The above principles are very relevant  in  this

    case because the very content of Article  21A  comes  from  reading  of

    Articles 41, 45 and 46 and, more particularly, from Article 45  (as  it

    then stood before the Constitution (Eighty sixth Amendment) Act, 2002).

     It has been urged before us that Article 45, as it then stood, imposed

    obligation on the State to provide for free  and  compulsory  education

    for all children until they complete the age of 14 years and  that  the

    said obligation cannot be shifted or passed on to an unaided school, as

    defined in Section 2(n)(iv) of  the  2009  Act.   To  answer  the  said

    contention, one needs to appreciate the  scope  of  Articles  21,  21A,

    19(1)(g) and Articles 41, 45  and  46  of  the  Constitution.   At  the

    outset, it may be stated, that fundamental rights have  two  aspects  –

    they act as fetter on plenary legislative powers  and,  secondly,  they

    provide conditions for fuller development of our people including their

    individual dignity.  Right to live  in  Article  21  covers  access  to

    education.  But unaffordability defeats that access.   It  defeats  the

    State’s endeavour to provide free  and  compulsory  education  for  all

    children of the specified age.  To  provide  for  free  and  compulsory

    education in Article 45 is not the same thing as to  provide  free  and

    compulsory education.  The word “for” in Article 45 is  a  preposition.

    The word “education” was read into Article 21 by the judgments of  this

    Court.  However, Article 21 merely declared “education” to fall  within

    the contours of  right  to  live.   To  provide  for  right  to  access

    education, Article 21A was enacted to give effect to Article 45 of  the

    Constitution.  Under Article 21A,  right  is  given  to  the  State  to

    provide  by  law  “free  and  compulsory   education”.    Article   21A

    contemplates  making  of  a  law  by  the  State.   Thus,  Article  21A

    contemplates right to education flowing from the law to be  made  which

    is the 2009 Act, which is child centric and  not  institution  centric.

    Thus, as stated, Article 21A provides that the State shall provide free

    and compulsory education to all children of the specified age  in  such

    manner as the State may, by law, determine.  The manner in  which  this

    obligation will be discharged by the State has been left to  the  State

    to determine by law.  The 2009 Act is thus enacted in terms of  Article

    21A.  It has been enacted primarily to remove all  barriers  (including

    financial barriers) which impede access to education.  One more  aspect

    needs to be highlighted.  It is not in  dispute  that  education  is  a

    recognised head of “charity” [see T.M.A. Pai  Foundation  v.  State  of

    Karnataka (2002) 8 SCC 481].  Therefore, even according to  T.M.A.  Pai

    Foundation, if an educational institution goes  beyond  “charity”  into

    commercialization, it would not be entitled to  protection  of  Article

    19(1)(g).  This is where the paradox comes  in.   If  education  is  an

    activity  which  is  charitable,   could   the   unaided   non-minority

    educational  institution  contend  that  the  intake  of  25%  children

    belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group only in class I  as

    provided for in Section 12(1)(c) would constitute violation of  Article

    19(1)(g)? Would such a provision not  be  saved  by  the  principle  of

    reasonable restriction imposed in the interest of the general public in

    Article 19(6) of the Constitution?

    10.    Coming to the principle of reasonableness,  it  may  be  stated,

    that though subject-wise, Article 21A deals with access to education as

    against right to establish and administer  educational  institution  in

    Article 19(1)(g), it is now not open to anyone to contend that the  law

    relating to right to access education within Article 21A does not  have

    to  meet  the  requirement  of  Article  14  or  Article  19  for   its

    reasonableness.  [See Khudiram Das v. State of West Bengal reported  in

    (1975) 2 SCR 832]  After the judgment of this Court in Maneka Gandhi v.

    Union of India [(1978) 1 SCC 248], the principle of  reasonableness  is

    applicable to Article 14 of the Constitution.  As held by this Court in

    Glanrock Estate Private Limited v. State of Tamil Nadu [(2010)  10  SCC

    96], Article 21 (right to life) remains the core  of  the  Constitution

    around which Article 14, Article  19  and  others  revolve.   In  other

    words, all other fundamental rights in Part III would be dependent upon

    right to life in Article 21 as interpreted by  this  Court  to  include

    right to live with dignity, right to education, etc.  At the end of the

    day, whether one adopts the pith and substance test or the  nature  and

    character of the legislation test or the effect test,  one  finds  that

    all these tests have evolved as  rules  of  interpretation  only  as  a

    matter of reasonableness.  They help us to correlate  Article  21  with

    Article 14, Article 19 and, so on.  Applying  the  above  principle  of

    reasonableness, though the right to access education falls as a subject

    matter under Article 21A and though  to  implement  the  said  Article,

    Parliament has enacted the 2009 Act, one has to judge the  validity  of

    the said Act in the light of the principle of reasonableness in Article

    19(6), particularly, when in T.M.A. Pai Foundation and in P.A.  Inamdar

    v. State of Maharashtra [(2005) 6 SCC 537], it has been held that right

    to establish and administer  an  educational  institution  falls  under

    Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.  Thus, the question which  arises

    for determination is – whether Section 12(1)(c) of the 2009  Act  is  a

    reasonable restriction on the non-minority’s  right  to  establish  and

    administer an unaided  educational  institution  under  Article  19(6)?

    Article 21 says that “no person shall be deprived of his  life...except

    according to the procedure established by law” whereas Article 19(1)(g)

    under the chapter “right to freedom” says that all  citizens  have  the

    right to practice any profession or to carry on any  occupation,  trade

    or business which freedom is not absolute but which could be  subjected

    to social control under  Article  19(6)  in  the  interest  of  general

    public.  By judicial decisions, right to education has been  read  into

    right to life in Article 21.  A child who is  denied  right  to  access

    education is not only deprived of his right to live with dignity, he is

    also deprived  of  his  right  to  freedom  of  speech  and  expression

    enshrined in Article 19(1)(a).  The 2009 Act seeks to remove all  those

    barriers including financial and psychological barriers which  a  child

    belonging to the weaker section and disadvantaged  group  has  to  face

    while seeking admission.  It is  true  that,  as  held  in  T.M.A.  Pai

    Foundation as  well  as  P.A.  Inamdar,  the  right  to  establish  and

    administer an educational institution is a fundamental right,  as  long

    as the activity remains charitable under Article 19(1)(g), however,  in

    the said two decisions the correlation between Articles 21 and 21A,  on

    the one hand, and  Article  19(1)(g),  on  the  other,  was  not  under

    consideration.  Further, the content of Article 21A flows from  Article

    45 (as it then stood).  The 2009 Act has been enacted to give effect to

    Article 21A.  For the above reasons, since the Article  19(1)(g)  right

    is not an absolute right as Article  30(1),  the  2009  Act  cannot  be

    termed as unreasonable.  To put  an  obligation  on  the  unaided  non-

    minority school to admit 25% children in class I under Section 12(1)(c)

    cannot be termed as an unreasonable restriction.  Such a law cannot  be

    said to transgress any constitutional limitation.  The  object  of  the

    2009 Act is to remove the barriers faced by a child who seeks admission

    to class I and not to restrict the freedom under Article 19(1)(g).  The

    next question that  arises  for  determination  is  –  whether  Section

    12(1)(c) of the 2009 Act impedes  the  right  of  the  non-minority  to

    establish and administer an unaided educational  institution?   At  the

    outset, it may be noted that Article 19(6) is  a  saving  and  enabling

    provision in the Constitution as it empowers the Parliament to  make  a

    law imposing reasonable restriction on the Article  19(1)(g)  right  to

    establish and administer an educational institution while  Article  21A

    empowers the Parliament to enact a law as to the manner  in  which  the

    State will discharge its obligation to provide for free and  compulsory

    education.  If the Parliament enacts the law, pursuant to Article  21A,

    enabling the State to access the network (including infrastructure)  of

    schools including unaided non-minority schools would such a law be said

    to be unconstitutional, not saved under Article 19(6)?   Answer  is  in

    the negative.  Firstly, it must be noted that the expansive  provisions

    of the 2009 Act are intended not only to guarantee the  right  to  free

    and compulsory education to children, but to set up an intrinsic regime

    of providing right to  education  to  all  children  by  providing  the

    required  infrastructure  and  compliance  of  norms   and   standards.

    Secondly, unlike other  fundamental  rights,  the  right  to  education

    places a burden not only on the State, but also on the parent/ guardian

    of every child [Article 51A(k)].  The Constitution directs both burdens

    to achieve one end: the compulsory education of children free from  the

    barriers of  cost,  parental  obstruction  or  State  inaction.   Thus,

    Articles 21A and 51A(k) balance the relative burdens on the parents and

    the State.   Thus,  the  right  to  education  envisages  a  reciprocal

    agreement  between  the  State  and  the  parents  and  it  places   an

    affirmative burden on all stakeholders in our civil society.   Thirdly,

    right to establish an educational institution has now  been  recognized

    as a fundamental right within the meaning of  Article  19(1)(g).   This

    view is enforced by the opinion of this Court in T.M.A. Pai  Foundation

    and P.A. Inamdar that all  citizens  have  a  right  to  establish  and

    administer educational institutions under Articles 19(1)(g) and 26  but

    that right is subject to the provisions of Articles  19(6)  and  26(a).

    The constitutional obligation of the State  to  provide  for  free  and

    compulsory education to the  specified  category  of  children  is  co-

    extensive with the fundamental right guaranteed under Article  19(1)(g)

    to establish an educational institution.  Lastly, the fundamental right

    to establish an educational institution cannot  be  confused  with  the

    right to ask  for  recognition  or  affiliation.   The  exercise  of  a

    fundamental  right  to  establish   and   administer   an   educational

    institution can be controlled in a number  of  ways.   Indeed,  matters

    relating to the right to grant of recognition and/ or  affiliation  are

    covered within the realm of statutory right, which, however, will  have

    to satisfy the test of reasonable  restrictions  [see  Article  19(6)].

    Thus, from the scheme of Article 21A and the 2009 Act, it is clear that

    the primary obligation  is  of  the  State  to  provide  for  free  and

    compulsory education to children between the age of 6 to 14 years  and,

    particularly, to children who are likely to be prevented from  pursuing

    and completing the elementary education due to inability to afford fees

    or charges.  Correspondingly, every citizen has a  right  to  establish

    and administer educational institution under Article 19(1)(g)  so  long

    as the activity remains charitable.  Such an activity undertaken by the

    private institutions supplements the primary obligation of  the  State.

    Thus, the State can regulate by  law  the  activities  of  the  private

    institutions by imposing reasonable restrictions under  Article  19(6).

    The 2009 Act not only encompasses the aspects of right of  children  to

    free and compulsory education but to carry out the  provisions  of  the

    2009 Act, it also deals with the matters pertaining to establishment of

    school (s) as also grant of recognition (see section 18).  Thus,  after

    the commencement of the 2009 Act, the private management  intending  to

    establish the school has to make  an  application  to  the  appropriate

    authority and till the certificate is granted  by  that  authority,  it

    cannot establish or run the school.  The matters relevant for the grant

    of recognition are also provided for in Sections 19, 25 read  with  the

    Schedule to the Act.  Thus, after the commencement of the 2009 Act,  by

    virtue of Section 12(1)(c) read with Section 2(n)(iv), the State, while

    granting recognition to the private unaided  non-minority  school,  may

    specify permissible  percentage  of  the  seats  to  be  earmarked  for

    children who may not be in a position to pay their fees or charges.  In

    T.M.A. Pai Foundation, this Court vide para 53 has  observed  that  the

    State while prescribing  qualifications  for  admission  in  a  private

    unaided institution may provide for condition of  giving  admission  to

    small percentage of  students  belonging  to  weaker  sections  of  the

    society by giving them freeships, if not  granted  by  the  government.

    Applying the said law, such a condition  in  Section  12(1)(c)  imposed

    while granting recognition to the private unaided  non-minority  school

    cannot be termed as unreasonable.  Such a condition would  come  within

    the principle of reasonableness in Article 19(6).  Indeed, by virtue of

    Section 12(2) read with Section 2(n)(iv), private unaided school  would

    be entitled to be reimbursed with the expenditure  incurred  by  it  in

    providing free and compulsory education to children  belonging  to  the

    above category to the extent of per child expenditure incurred  by  the

    State in a school specified in Section 2(n)(i)  or  the  actual  amount

    charged from the child, whichever is less.  Such a  restriction  is  in

    the  interest  of  the  general  public.   It  is  also  a   reasonable

    restriction.  Such measures address two aspects,  viz.,  upholding  the

    fundamental right of the private management  to  establish  an  unaided

    educational institution of their choice and, at the same time, securing

    the interests of the children in the locality, in particular, those who

    may not be able to pursue education due to inability  to  pay  fees  or

    charges of the private unaided schools. We also do not see any merit in

    the contention that Section 12(1)(c) violates Article  14.  As  stated,

    Section 12(1)(c) inter alia provides for admission to class I,  to  the

    extent of 25% of the strength of the class, of the  children  belonging

    to weaker section and disadvantaged  group  in  the  neighbourhood  and

    provide free and compulsory  elementary  education  to  them  till  its

    completion.  The  emphasis  is  on  “free  and  compulsory  education”.

    Earmarking of seats for children belonging to a specified category  who

    face financial barrier in the matter of accessing  education  satisfies

    the test of classification in Article  14.  Further,  Section  12(1)(c)

    provides for level playing field in the matter of right to education to

    children who are prevented from accessing education because they do not

    have the means or their parents do not have the means to pay for  their

    fees. As stated above, education  is  an  activity  in  which  we  have

    several participants. There are number of stakeholders including  those

    who want to establish and administer educational institutions as  these

    supplement the primary obligation of the State to provide for free  and

    compulsory education to the  specified  category  of  children.  Hence,

    Section 12(1)(c) also satisfies the test of reasonableness, apart  from

    the test of classification in Article 14.

    11.    The last question which we have to answer under this head  is  –

    whether Section 12(1)(c) runs counter to the judgments of this Court in

    T.M.A. Pai Foundation and P.A. Inamdar or principles laid down therein?

    According to the petitioners, T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation  defines  various

    rights and has held vide para 50 that right to establish and administer

    broadly comprises the following:- (i)  right  to  admit  students  (ii)

    right to set up a reasonable fee  structure  etc.  (the  rest  are  not

    important for discussion under this Head). That, T.M.A. Pai  Foundation

    lays down the essence and  structure  of  rights  in  Article  19(1)(g)

    insofar as they relate to educational institutions in  compliance  with

    (a) the Charity  Principle   (b)   the  Autonomy  Principle   (c)   the

    Voluntariness Principle  (d)   Anti-nationalisation   (e)   Co-optation

    Principle. In support, reliance is placed by the petitioners on  number

    of paras from the above two judgments. At the outset, we may  reiterate

    that Article 21A of the Constitution  provides  that  the  State  shall

    provide free and compulsory education to all children of the  specified

    age in such manner as the State  may,  by  law,  determine.  Thus,  the

    primary obligation to provide free  and  compulsory  education  to  all

    children of the specified age is on the State. However, the  manner  in

    which this obligation will be discharged by the State has been left  to

    the State to determine by law. The State may  do  so  through  its  own

    schools or through aided schools or through private schools, so long as

    the  law  made  in  this  regard  does   not   transgress   any   other

    constitutional limitation. This is because Article 21A vests the  power

    in the State to decide the manner in which it  will  provide  free  and

    compulsory education to the specified category of children. As  stated,

    the 2009 Act has been enacted pursuant to Article 21A. In this case, we

    are concerned with the interplay of Article 21, Article 21A, on the one

    hand, and the right to establish and administer educational institution

    under Article 19(1)(g) read with Article 19(6). That was not the  issue

    in T.M.A. Pai Foundation nor in P.A. Inamdar.  In  this  case,  we  are

    concerned with the validity of Section 12(1)(c) of the 2009 Act. Hence,

    we are concerned with the validity  of  the  law  enacted  pursuant  to

    Article  21A  placing  restrictions  on  the  right  to  establish  and

    administer educational institutions (including  schools)  and  not  the

    validity of the Scheme evolved in  Unni  Krishnan,  J.P.  v.  State  of

    Andhra Pradesh  [(1993) 1 SCC 645]. The above judgments in  T.M.A.  Pai

    Foundation and P.A. Inamdar were not concerned with  interpretation  of

    Article 21A and the 2009 Act. It is true that the above  two  judgments

    have held that all citizens have a right to  establish  and  administer

    educational institutions under Article 19(1)(g), however, the  question

    as to whether the provisions of the 2009 Act constituted a  restriction

    on that right and if so whether  that  restriction  was   a  reasonable

    restriction under  Article  19(6)  was  not  in  issue.  Moreover,  the

    controversy in T.M.A. Pai Foundation arose in the light of  the  scheme

    framed in Unni Krishnan’s case and the judgment  in  P.A.  Inamdar  was

    almost a sequel to the directions in Islamic Academy  of  Education  v.

    State of Karnataka [(2003) 6 SCC 697] in which  the  entire  focus  was

    Institution centric and not child centric and that too in  the  context

    of higher education and professional education where the level of merit

    and excellence have to be given a different weightage than the  one  we

    have to  give  in  the  case  of  Universal  Elementary  Education  for

    strengthening social fabric of democracy  through  provision  of  equal

    opportunities  to  all  and  for  children  of   weaker   section   and

    disadvantaged group who seek  admission  not  to  higher  education  or

    professional courses but to Class I. In this connection,  the  relevant

    paras from T.M.A. Pai Foundation make  the  position  clear.  They  are

    paras 37, 39, 40, 42, 45, 48, 49 and 50 (read together), 51, 53, 56, 58

    - 61, 62, 67, 68, 70 etc., similarly, paras 26, 35, 104,  146  of  P.A.

    Inamdar.  We quote the relevant para in support of what we have  stated


           T.M.A. Pai Foundation

           Para 48 read with para 50

              48. Private education is one of the most dynamic and fastest-

           growing segments of post-secondary education at the turn of  the

           twenty-first century. A combination of unprecedented demand  for

           access to higher education and the inability or unwillingness of

           the Government to provide  the  necessary  support  has  brought

           private higher education to the forefront. Private institutions,

           with a long history in many countries, are  expanding  in  scope

           and number, and are becoming increasingly important in parts  of

           the world that relied almost entirely on the public sector.

              50. The right to establish and administer  broadly  comprises

           the following rights:

              (a) to admit students;

              (b) to set up a reasonable fee structure;

              (c) to constitute a governing body;

              (d) to appoint staff (teaching and non-teaching); and

              (e) to take action if there is dereliction  of  duty  on  the

           part of any employees.

              58. For admission into any  professional  institution,  merit

           must play an important  role.  While  it  may  not  be  normally

           possible to judge the merit of the applicant who seeks admission

           into  a  school,  while  seeking  admission  to  a  professional

           institution and  to  become  a  competent  professional,  it  is

           necessary that meritorious candidates are not  unfairly  treated

           or  put  at  a  disadvantage  by  preferences  shown   to   less

           meritorious  but  more  influential  applicants.  Excellence  in

           professional education would require that  greater  emphasis  be

           laid on the merit of a student  seeking  admission.  Appropriate

           regulations for this purpose may be made  keeping  in  view  the

           other observations made in  this  judgment  in  the  context  of

           admissions to unaided institutions.



              59.  Merit  is   usually   determined,   for   admission   to

           professional and higher education colleges, by either the  marks

           that the student obtains at the qualifying examination or school-

           leaving certificate stage followed by the  interview,  or  by  a

           common entrance test conducted by the  institution,  or  in  the

           case of professional colleges, by government agencies.

              60. Education is taught at different levels, from primary  to

           professional.  It  is,  therefore,   obvious   that   government

           regulations for all levels or types of educational  institutions

           cannot  be  identical;  so  also,  the  extent  of  control   or

           regulation could be greater vis-a-vis aided institutions.

              61. In the case of unaided private schools, maximum  autonomy

           has to be with the management  with  regard  to  administration,

           including  the  right  of  appointment,   disciplinary   powers,

           admission of students and the fees to be charged. At the  school

           level, it is not possible to grant admissions on  the  basis  of

           merit. It is no secret  that  the  examination  results  at  all

           levels of unaided private schools, notwithstanding the stringent

           regulations of the governmental authorities, are far superior to

           the results of the government-maintained schools.  There  is  no

           compulsion on students to attend private schools. The  rush  for

           admission is occasioned by  the  standards  maintained  in  such

           schools, and recognition of the fact that State-run  schools  do

           not provide the same standards of education. The State says that

           it has no funds to establish institutions at the same  level  of

           excellence as private schools. But by curtailing the  income  of

           such private schools, it disables those schools  from  affording

           the best facilities because of a lack of funds. If this lowering

           of standards from excellence to a level of mediocrity is  to  be

           avoided,  the  State  has  to  provide  the  difference   which,

           therefore, brings us back in a vicious circle  to  the  original

           problem viz. the lack of State funds. The solution would  appear

           to lie in the States not using their scanty resources to prop up

           institutions that are able to otherwise maintain themselves  out

           of the  fees  charged,  but  in  improving  the  facilities  and

           infrastructure of State-run schools and in subsidizing the  fees

           payable by the students there. It is  in  the  interest  of  the

           general public that more good quality schools  are  established;

           autonomy and non-regulation of the school administration in  the

           right of appointment, admission of the students and the  fee  to

           be  charged  will  ensure  that  more  such   institutions   are

           established. The fear that if a private  school  is  allowed  to

           charge fees commensurate with the fees affordable,  the  degrees

           would be “purchasable” is an unfounded one since  the  standards

           of education can be and are controllable through the regulations

           relating  to   recognition,   affiliation   and   common   final


           P.A. Inamdar

              26. These matters have been directed to be placed for hearing

           before a Bench of seven Judges under orders of the Chief Justice

           of India pursuant to the order dated 15-7-2004 in  P.A.  Inamdar

           v. State of Maharashtra and order dated 29-7-2004 in  Pushpagiri

           Medical Society v. State of Kerala. The aggrieved persons before

           us are  again  classifiable  in  one  class,  that  is,  unaided

           minority and non-minority  institutions  imparting  professional

           education. The issues arising for decision before  us  are  only


                 (i) the  fixation  of  “quota”  of  admissions/students  in

              respect of unaided professional institutions;

                 (ii) the holding of examinations  for  admissions  to  such

              colleges, that is, who will hold the entrance tests; and

                 (iii) the fee structure.

              104.  Article  30(1)  speaks  of  “educational  institutions”

           generally and so does Article 29(2). These articles do not  draw

           any distinction between an  educational  institution  dispensing

           theological  education  or  professional   or   non-professional

           education. However, the terrain  of  thought  as  has  developed

           through successive judicial pronouncements  culminating  in  Pai

           Foundation is that looking at the concept of education,  in  the

           backdrop  of   the   constitutional   provisions,   professional

           educational institutions constitute a  class  by  themselves  as

           distinguished  from  educational  institutions  imparting   non-

           professional education. It is not necessary for us  to  go  deep

           into this aspect of the issue posed before us  inasmuch  as  Pai

           Foundation  has  clarified  that  merit  and  excellence  assume

           special significance in the  context  of  professional  studies.

           Though merit and excellence are not anathema to non-professional

           education, yet at that level and due to the nature of  education

           which is more general, the need for merit and excellence therein

           is not of the  degree  as  is  called  for  in  the  context  of

           professional education.



              146. Non-minority unaided institutions can also be  subjected

           to similar restrictions which are found reasonable  and  in  the

           interest of the student community. Professional education should

           be made accessible  on  the  criterion  of  merit  and  on  non-

           exploitative terms to all eligible students on a uniform  basis.

           Minorities or non-minorities, in exercise of  their  educational

           rights in the field of professional education have an obligation

           and a duty  to  maintain  requisite  standards  of  professional

           education  by  giving  admissions  based  on  merit  and  making

           education equally accessible to eligible students through a fair

           and transparent admission procedure and based  on  a  reasonable

           fee structure.

    12.    P.A. Inamdar  holds  that  right  to  establish  and  administer

    educational institution falls in Article 19(1)(g).   It  further  holds

    that  seat-sharing,  reservation  of  seats,  fixing  of  quotas,   fee

    fixation, cross-subsidization, etc. imposed  by  judge-made  scheme  in

    professional/ higher education is an unreasonable restriction  applying

    the  principles  of  Voluntariness,  Autonomy,  Co-optation  and  Anti-

    nationalisation, and,  lastly,  it  deals  with  inter-relationship  of

    Articles 19(1)(g), 29(2) and 30(1) in the context of the  minority  and

    non-minority’s  right   to   establish   and   administer   educational

    institutions.  The point here is how does one read the above principles

    of Autonomy, Voluntariness,  Co-optation  and  Anti-nationalisation  of

    seats.  On reading T.M.A. Pai Foundation and  P.A.  Inamdar  in  proper

    perspective, it becomes  clear  that  the  said  principles  have  been

    applied in the context of professional/ higher  education  where  merit

    and excellence have to be given due weightage and which  tests  do  not

    apply in cases where a child seeks admission to class I  and  when  the

    impugned Section 12(1)(c)  seeks  to  remove  the  financial  obstacle.

    Thus, if one reads the 2009  Act  including  Section  12(1)(c)  in  its

    application to unaided non-minority school(s), the  same  is  saved  as

    reasonable restriction under Article 19(6).

    13.    However, we want the Government to clarify the position  on  one

    aspect.  There are boarding schools and orphanages in several parts  of

    India.  In those institutions, there are  day  scholars  and  boarders.

    The 2009 Act could only apply to day scholars.  It cannot  be  extended

    to boarders.  To  put  the  matter  beyond  doubt,  we  recommend  that

    appropriate guidelines be issued under  Section  35  of  the  2009  Act

    clarifying the above position.

    Validity and applicability of the 2009 Act qua unaided minority schools

    14.    The inspiring preamble to our Constitution shows that one of the

    cherished objects of our Constitution is to assure to all its  citizens

    the liberty of thought, expression,  belief,  faith  and  worship.   To

    implement and fortify these purposes, Part  III  has  provided  certain

    fundamental rights including  Article  26  of  the  Constitution  which

    guarantees the right of  every  religious  denomination  or  a  section

    thereof, to establish  and  maintain  institutions  for  religious  and

    charitable purposes; to manage its affairs in matters of  religion;  to

    acquire property and to administer it in accordance with law.  Articles

    29 and 30 confer certain educational and cultural rights as fundamental


    15.    Article 29(1) confers on any section of the citizens a right  to

    conserve its own language, script or culture by and through educational

    institutions and makes it obvious that a minority  could  conserve  its

    language, script or culture and,  therefore,  the  right  to  establish

    institutions of its choice is a necessary concomitant to the  right  to

    conserve its distinctive language, script or culture and that right  is

    conferred on all minorities by Article 30(1).  That right, however,  is

    subject to the right conferred by Article 29(2).



    16.    Article 30(1) gives the minorities two rights: (a) to  establish

    and (b) to administer educational institutions of  their  choice.   The

    real import of Article 29(2) and Article 30(1) is that they contemplate

    a minority institution with a sprinkle of outsiders admitted  into  it.

    By admitting a non-member into it the  minority  institution  does  not

    shed its character and cease to be a minority institution.

    17.    The key to Article 30(1) lies in the words “of their choice”.

    18.    The right established by Article 30(1) is  a  fundamental  right

    declared in terms absolute unlike the freedoms guaranteed by Article 19

    which is subject to reasonable restrictions.  Article 30(1) is intended

    to be a real right for the protection of the minorities in  the  matter

    of setting up educational institutions of their own  choice.   However,

    regulations may lawfully be imposed either by legislative or  executive

    action as a condition of receiving grant or of  recognition.   However,

    such regulation must satisfy the test of reasonableness and  that  such

    regulation should make the educational institution an effective vehicle

    of education for the minority community or for the persons  who  resort

    to it.  Applying the above test in the case of Rev.  Sidhajbhai  Sabhai

    v. State of Bombay [1963] SCR 837, this Court held the rule authorizing

    reservation of seats and the threat of withdrawal of recognition  under

    the impugned rule to be violative of Article 30(1).

    19.    The above well-settled principles have to be seen in the context

    of the 2009 Act enacted to implement Article 21A of  the  Constitution.

    At the very outset, the question that arises  for  determination  is  –

    what was the intention of the Parliament?  Is the 2009 Act intended  to

    apply to unaided minority schools?  In answer to the above question, it

    is important to note that in the case of P.A. Inamdar, this Court  held

    that there shall be no reservations in  private  unaided  colleges  and

    that in that regard there shall be no difference between  the  minority

    and non-minority institutions.  However, by the  Constitution  (Ninety-

    third Amendment) Act, 2005, Article 15 is amended.  It is given Article

    15(5).  The result is that P.A.  Inamdar  has  been  overruled  on  two

    counts: (a) whereas this Court in P.A. Inamdar had  stated  that  there

    shall be no reservation in  private  unaided  colleges,  the  Amendment

    decreed that there shall be reservations; (b)  whereas  this  Court  in

    P.A. Inamdar had said that there shall be  no  difference  between  the

    unaided minority and non-minority institutions, the  Amendment  decreed

    that there shall be  a  difference.   Article   15(5)  is  an  enabling

    provision and it is  for  the  respective  States  either  to  enact  a

    legislation or issue an executive instruction providing for reservation

    except in the case of minority educational institutions referred to  in

    Article 30(1).  The intention of the Parliament is  that  the  minority

    educational institution referred to in  Article  30(1)  is  a  separate

    category of institutions which needs protection of  Article  30(1)  and

    viewed in that light we are of the view that unaided minority school(s)

    needs special protection under Article  30(1).  Article  30(1)  is  not

    conditional as Article 19(1)(g).  In a sense, it  is  absolute  as  the

    Constitution framers thought that it was the duty of the Government  of

    the day to protect the minorities in  the  matter  of  preservation  of

    culture,  language  and  script  via   establishment   of   educational

    institutions for religious and charitable purposes [See:  Article  26].

    Reservations of 25% in such unaided minority schools result in changing

    the character of the schools if right to establish and administer  such

    schools flows from the  right  to  conserve  the  language,  script  or

    culture, which right is conferred on  such  unaided  minority  schools.

    Thus, the 2009  Act  including  Section  12(1)(c)  violates  the  right

    conferred  on  such  unaided  minority  schools  under  Article  30(1).

    However, when we come to aided minority schools we have to keep in mind

    Article 29(2). As stated, Article 30(1) is subject  to  Article  29(2).

    The said Article confers right of admission upon every citizen  into  a

    State-aided  educational  institution.   Article  29(2)  refers  to  an

    individual right.  It is  not  a  class  right.   It  applies  when  an

    individual  is  denied  admission  into  an   educational   institution

    maintained or aided by the State.  The 2009 Act is  enacted  to  remove

    barriers such as financial barriers which restrict  his/her  access  to

    education.  It is enacted pursuant to Article 21A.  Applying the  above

    tests, we hold that the 2009 Act is constitutionally  valid  qua  aided

    minority schools.

    Conclusion (according to majority):

    20.    Accordingly, we hold that the Right  of  Children  to  Free  and

    Compulsory Education Act, 2009  is  constitutionally  valid  and  shall

    apply to the following:

    (i)    a school established, owned or  controlled  by  the  appropriate

           Government or a local authority;

    (ii)   an aided school including aided minority school(s) receiving aid

           or grants to meet  whole  or  part  of  its  expenses  from  the

           appropriate Government or the local authority;

    (iii)  a school belonging to specified category; and

    (iv)   an unaided non-minority school not receiving any kind of aid  or

           grants to meet its expenses from the appropriate  Government  or

           the local authority.

      However, the said 2009 Act and in particular  Sections  12(1)(c)  and

    18(3) infringes the fundamental freedom guaranteed to unaided  minority

    schools under Article 30(1)  and,  consequently,  applying  the  R.M.D.

    Chamarbaugwalla  v.  Union  of  India  [1957  SCR  930]  principle   of

    severability, the said 2009 Act shall not apply to such schools.

     21.   This judgment will operate from today.   In  other  words,  this

    will apply from the academic year 2012-13.  However,  admissions  given

    by unaided minority schools prior to the pronouncement of this judgment

    shall not be reopened.

    22.    Subject to what is stated above, the writ petitions are disposed

    of with no order as to costs.

                                       (S. H. Kapadia) …..……………………….......CJI

                                       (Swatanter Kumar)  .........……………………..J.


    New Delhi;

    April 12, 2012



                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.95 OF  2010



     U.O.I. & ANR.                                       ..Respondent(s)






     W.P. (C) NOs.98/2010, 126/2010, 137/2010, 228/2010, 269/2010, 310/2010,

     364/2010,  384/2010,  22/2011,  24/2011,  21/2011,  47/2011,   59/2011,

     50/2011,  83/2011,  88/2011,  99/2011,  102/2011,  104/2011,   86/2011,

     101/2011, 115/2011, 154/2011, 126/2011, 118/2011,  186/2011,  148/2011,

     176/2011,  205/2011,  238/2011 and 239/2011



K. S. Radhakrishnan, J.

       We are, in these cases, concerned with the constitutional validity of

     the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (35  of

     2009) [in short, the Act], which was enacted following the insertion of

     Article 21A by the Constitution  (Eighty-sixth  Amendment)  Act,  2002.

     Article 21A provides for free and compulsory education to all  children

     of the age 6 to 14 years and also casts an obligation on the  State  to

     provide and ensure admission, attendance and completion  of  elementary

     education in such a manner that the State may by  law  determine.   The

     Act is, therefore, enacted to provide for free and compulsory education

     to all children of the age 6 to 14 years and is anchored in the  belief

     that the values of equality,  social  justice  and  democracy  and  the

     creation of just and humane society can  be  achieved  only  through  a

     provision of  inclusive  elementary  education  to  all  the  children.

     Provision of free and compulsory education of satisfactory  quality  to

     the children from disadvantaged groups  and  weaker  sections,  it  was

     pointed out, is not merely the responsibility of  the  schools  run  or

     supported by the appropriate government, but also of schools which  are

     not dependant on government funds.

     2.     Petitioners in all  these  cases,  it  may  be  mentioned,  have

     wholeheartedly  welcomed  the  introduction  of  Article  21A  in   the

     Constitution and acknowledged it  as  a  revolutionary  step  providing

     universal elementary education for all the  children.   Controversy  in

     all these cases is not with regard to the validity of Article 21A,  but

     mainly centers around its interpretation and the validity  of  Sections

     3, 12(1)(b) and 12(1)(c) and some other related provisions of the  Act,

     which cast obligation on all  elementary  educational  institutions  to

     admit children of the age 6 to 14 years from  their  neighbourhood,  on

     the principle of  social  inclusiveness.   Petitioners  also  challenge

     certain   other   provisions   purported   to   interfere   with    the

     administration, management and functioning of those  institutions.    I

     have dealt with all those issues in Parts I to V of my judgment and  my

     conclusions are in Part VI.

     3.     Part  I  of  the  judgment  deals  with  the  circumstances  and

     background for the introduction of Article 21A and its scope and object

     and the interpretation given by the Constitution Benches of this  Court

     on right to education.  Part II of  the  judgment  deals  with  various

     socio-economic rights recognized by our Constitution and the impact  on

     other fundamental rights guaranteed to others and the measures  adopted

     by the Parliament to remove the  obstacles  for  realization  of  those

     rights, in cases  where  there  is  conflict.    In  Part  III  of  the

     judgment, I have dealt with the obligations and responsibilities of the

     non-state actors in realization of children’s rights  guaranteed  under

     Article 21A  and  the  Act.    In  Part  IV,  I  have  dealt  with  the

     constitutional validity of Section 12(1)(b), 12(1)(c) of the Act and in

     Part V, I have dealt with the challenge against other provisions of the

     Act and my conclusions are in Part VI.

     4.     Senior lawyers – Shri Rajeev  Dhavan,  Shri  T.R.  Andhyarujina,

     Shri Ashok H. Desai, Shri Harish S.  Salve,  Shri  N.  Chandrasekharan,

     Shri K. Parasaran,  Shri Chander Uday Singh, Shri Shekhar Naphade, Shri

     Vikas Singh, Shri Arvind P. Dattar and large number  of  other  counsel

     also presented their arguments and rendered valuable assistance to  the

     Court.   Shri Goolam E. Vahanvati, learned Attorney  General  and  Mrs.

     Indira Jaising, learned Additional Solicitor General appeared  for  the

     Union of India.


     5.     In Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka and others  [(1992)  3  SCC

     666], this Court held that the right  to  education  is  a  fundamental

     right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and that  dignity

     of individuals  cannot  be  assured  unless  accompanied  by  right  to

     education  and  that  charging  of  capitation  fee  for  admission  to

     educational institutions would amount to denial of citizens’  right  to

     education and is violative of Article 14  of  the  Constitution.    The

     ratio laid down in Mohini Jain was questioned in  Unni  Krishnan,  J.P.

     and Others v. State of A.P. and Others  [(1993) 1 SCC  645]  contending

     that if the judgment in Mohini Jain was given effect to,  many  of  the

     private educational institutions would have to be closed down.   Mohini

     Jain was affirmed in Unni Krishnan to the extent of  holding  that  the

     right to education flows  from  Article  21  of  the  Constitution  and

     charging of capitation fee was illegal.   The  Court  partly  overruled

     Mohini Jain and held that the right to free education is available only

     to children until they complete the age of  14  years  and  after  that

     obligation of the State to provide education would be  subject  to  the

     limits of its economic  capacity  and  development.    Private  unaided

     recognized/affiliated  educational  institutions  running  professional

     courses were held entitled to charge the fee higher than  that  charged

     by government institutions for similar courses  but  that  such  a  fee

     should not exceed the maximum limit fixed by the State.  The Court also

     formulated a scheme and directed every authority to impose that  scheme

     upon institutions seeking recognition/affiliation,  even  if  they  are

     unaided institutions.  Unni Krishnan introduced the  concept  of  “free

     seats” and “payment seats” and ordered that private unaided educational

     institutions should not add any further conditions and were held  bound

     by the scheme.  Unni Krishnan also recognized the right to education as

     a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and

     held that the right is available to children until  they  complete  the

     age of 14 years.

     6.      The  Department  of  Education,  Ministry  of  Human  Resources

     Development, Government of India after the judgment  in  Unni  Krishnan

     made a proposal  to  amend  the  Constitution  to  make  the  right  to

     education a fundamental right for children up to the age  of  14  years

     and also a fundamental duty of citizens of India so as to  achieve  the

     goal of universal elementary education.  The Department also drafted  a

     Bill [Constitution (Eighty-third Amendment) Bill, 1997] so as to insert

     a new Article 21A in the Constitution which read as follows:

“21A. Right to education.

           21A(1)       The  State  shall  provide  free   and   compulsory

           education to all citizens of the age of six to fourteen years.

            Clause(2)  The Right to Free and Compulsory Education  referred

           to in clause (1) shall be enforced in such manner as  the  State

           may, by law, determine.

           Clause (3)   The State shall not make  any  law,  for  free  and

           compulsory  education  under  Clause(2),  in  relation  to   the

           educational institutions not maintained  by  the  State  or  not

           receiving aid out of State funds.”

     7.     The draft Bill was presented before the Chairman, Rajya Sabha on

     28.07.1997, who referred the Bill to a   Committee for examination  and

     report.   The Committee called for suggestions/views from  individuals,

     organisations, institutions etc. and ultimately submitted its report on

     4.11.1997.    The Committee in its Report referred to the written  note

     received from the Department of Education and stated as follows:

                “Department in its written  note  stated  that  the  Supreme

           Court in its judgment in Unni Krishnan J.P. v.  Andhra  Pradesh,

           has held that children of this country have a Fundamental  Right

           to free education until they complete the age of 14 years.  This

           right flows from Article 21 relating to personal liberty and its

           content, parameters have  to  be  determined  in  the  light  of

           Article 41 which provides for right to work, to education and to

           public assistance in certain cases and Article 45 which provides

           for free and compulsory education to children up to the  age  of

           14 years.  The apex Court  has  observed  that  the  obligations

           created by these Articles of the Constitution can be  discharged

           by the State either by establishing institutions of its  own  or

           by aiding recognising and granting  affiliation  to  educational

           institutions.  On clause (3) of the  proposed  Article  21,  the

           report stated as follows:

                   “11.      Clause (3) of the proposed Article 21 provides

             that the State shall not make any law for free and  compulsory

             education under clause (2), in  relation  to  the  educational

             institutions not maintained by the State or not receiving  aid

             out of State funds.  However, strong apprehensions were voiced

             about clause (3) of the proposed new Article 21A.  Many of the

             people in the written memoranda and also  educational  experts

             in the oral evidence have expressed displeasure  over  keeping

             the private educational institutions outside  the  purview  of

             the fundamental right  to  be  given  to  the  children.   The

             Secretary stated that the Supreme Court in the  Unni  Krishnan

             judgment said that wherever the State is not providing any aid

             to any institution, such an institution need not provide  free

             education.  The Department took into account the Supreme Court

             judgment in the Unni Krishnan case which  laid  down  that  no

             private  institution,  can  be  compelled  to   provide   free

             services.  Therefore,  they  provided  in  the  Constitutional

             amendment that this concept of  free  education  need  not  be

             extended to schools or institutions which are not aided by the

             Government, the Secretary added.   He,  however,  stated  that

             there was no intention,  to  exclude  them  from  the  overall

             responsibility to provide education.”

     8.       The Committee specifically referred to the  judgment  in  Unni

     Krishnan in paragraph 15.14 of the Report.   Reference was also made to

     the dissenting note of one of the members.   Relevant  portion  of  the

     report is extracted below:

                 “15.14. Clause (3) of the proposed Article 21(A)  prohibits

           the State from making any law for free and compulsory  education

           in relation to educational institutions not  maintained  by  the

           State or not receiving aid out of State funds.  This  issue  was

           discussed by the  Members  of  the  Committee  at  length.   The

           members were in agreement that even though the so called private

           institutions do not receive  any  financial  aid,  the  children

           studying in those institutions should not be deprived  of  their

           fundamental right.  As regards the interpretation as to  whether

           the private institutions should provide free education  or  not,

           the Committee is aware of the Supreme Court  judgment  given  in

           the Unni Krishnan case.  This judgment  provides  the  rule  for

           application and interpretation.  In view of the judgment, it  is

           not necessary to make a clause in the Constitution. It would  be

           appropriate to leave the interpretation to the courts instead of

           making a specific provision in black and white.   Some  members,

           however, felt that the private institutions which do not get any

           financial aid, provide quality education.  Therefore,  it  would

           be inappropriate to bring such institutions under the purview of

           free education.  Those members, accordingly,  felt  that  clause

           (3) should not be deleted.

                 15.15.     The  Committee,  however,   after   a   thorough

           discussion feels that this provision need  not  be  there.   The

           Committee recommends that clause (3)  of  the  proposed  Article

           21(A) may be deleted.  Smt. Hedwig Michael Rego, M.P.  a  Member

           of the Committee gave a Minute of Dissent.  It  is  appended  to

           the report.

                 15.16.    The Committee recommends that the Bill be  passed

           subject to the recommendations made in the preceding paragraphs.


                 I vehemently oppose the State wanting to introduce free and

           compulsory education in private, unaided schools.

                 Clause 21A (3) must be inserted as I do not wish the  State

           to make laws regarding free and compulsory education in relation

           to educational institutions not maintained by the State  or  not

           receiving aid out of State funds.

                 A Committee  of  State  Education  Ministers  have  already

           considered the issue in view of  the  Unni  Krishnan  case,  and

           found it not  feasible  to  bring  unaided  private  educational

           institutions within the purview of the Bill.

                 Hence, I state once again that the proposed clause “21A(3”)

           must be inserted in the Bill.

                                                            Yours sincerely,


                                                 (SMT. HEDWIG MICHAEL REGO)”

                                                         (emphasis supplied)


    9.     Report referred  to  above  was  adopted  by  the  Parliamentary

    Standing Committee on Human Resource Development and submitted the same

    to the Rajya Sabha on 24.11.1997 and also laid on the Table of the  Lok

    Sabha on 24.11.1997.     The  Lok  Sabha  was  however  dissolved  soon

    thereafter and elections were declared and that Bill  was  not  further


    10.      The Chairman of the Law Commission who authored Unni  Krishnan

    judgment took up the issue suo  moto.   Following  the  ratio  in  Unni

    Krishnan, the Law Commission submitted its 165th Report to the Ministry

    of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Union of India vide  letter  dated

    19.11.1998.  Law Commission in that  letter  stated  as  follows:  “Law

    Commission had taken up the aforesaid subject suo moto having regard to

    the Directive Principle of the Constitution of India  as  well  as  the

    decision of the Supreme Court of India.”

    11.    Referring to the  Constitution  (Eighty-third  Amendment)  Bill,

    1997, Law Commission in its report in paragraph 6.1.4 stated as under:

                 “6.1.4 (page 165.35):  The  Department  of  Education  may

           perhaps be right  in  saying   that  as  of  today  the  private

           educational institutions which are not in receipt of  any  grant

           or aid from the State, cannot be placed under an  obligation  to

           impart free education to all the students  admitted  into  their

           institutions.  However, applying the ratio of Unnikrishnan case,

           it is perfectly legitimate for  the  State  or  the  affiliating

           Board, as the case may be, to require the institution  to  admit

           and impart free education to fifty per cent of the students as a

           condition for affiliation or for permitting  their  students  to

           appear for the Government/Board examination.  To start with, the

           percentage can be prescribed as twenty.  Accordingly, twenty per

           cent students could be selected by the concerned institution  in

           consultation with the local authorities and  the  parent-teacher

           association.    This   proposal   would   enable   the   unaided

           institutions to join the national endeavour to provide education

           to the children of India and  to  that  extent  will  also  help

           reduce the financial burden upon the State.” (emphasis supplied)

           12.   The Law Commission which had initiated the proceedings suo

           moto in the light of Unni Krishnan suggested deletion of  clause

           (3) from Article 21A stating as follows:  “So far as clause  (3)

           is concerned, the  Law  Commission  states  that  it  should  be

           totally recast on the light of the basic premise of the decision

           in Unni Kirshnan which has been  referred  to  hereinabove.   It

           would neither  be  advisable  nor  desirable  that  the  unaided

           educational institutions are kept outside the  proposed  Article

           altogether  while  the  sole  primary  obligation   to   provide

           education is  upon  the  State,  the  educational  institutions,

           whether aided or unaided supplement this effort.”

           Para 6.6.2 of the report reads as under:

           “6.6.2.   The unaided institutions should  be  made  aware  that

           recognition, affiliation or permission to send their children to

           appear  for  the  Government/Board  examination  also  casts   a

           corresponding social obligation upon them towards  the  society.

           The recognition/affiliation/permission  aforesaid  is  meant  to

           enable them to supplement the effort of the  State  and  not  to

           enable them to make  money.    Since  they  exist  and  function

           effectively because of  such  recognition/affiliation/permission

           granted by public authorities, they must and are bound to  serve

           the public interest.  For this reason, the  unaided  educational

           institutions must be made to impart free education to 50% of the

           students admitted to their  institutions.   This  principle  has

           already been applied to medical, engineering and other  colleges

           imparting professional education and there is no reason why  the

           schools imparting primary/elementary  education  should  not  be

           placed under  the  same  obligation.   Clause  (3)  of  proposed

           Article 21A may accordingly be recast  to  give  effect  to  the

           above concept and obligation.”

          Reference may also be made to the  following  paragraphs  of  the


           “6.8.   The aforesaid bill was referred by the  Chairman,  Rajya

           Sabha to the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee

           on Human Resources Development.   A  press  communiqué  inviting

           suggestions/views  was  issued  on  18th  August,   1997.    The

           Committee considered the Bill in four sittings  and  heard  oral

           evidence.  It adopted the draft report at its  meeting  held  on

           4th November, 1997.  The report was then presented to the  Rajya

           Sabha on 24th November, 1997 and laid on the table  of  the  Lok

           Sabha on  the  same  day.   Unfortunately,  the  Lok  Sabha  was

           dissolved soon thereafter and elections were called.

           6.8.1.    The  Budget  Session  after  the  new  Lok  Sabha  was

           constituted is over.  There is, however, no  indication  whether

           the Government is inclined to pursue the pending bill.



           6.9.   The question is debatable whether it is at all  necessary

           to amend the Constitution when there is an explicit  recognition

           of the right to education till the age of fourteen years by  the

           Supreme Court in Unni Krishnan’s case.  As the said judgment can

           be overruled by a larger Bench in another case, thus making this

           right to education vulnerable, it would appear advisable to give

           this right constitutional sanctity.”

    13.      Law Commission was giving effect to the ratio of Unni Krishnan

    and made suggestions to bring in Article 21A mainly on the basis of the

    scheme framed in  Unni  Krishnan  providing  “free  seats”  in  private

    educational institutions.

    14.     The Law Commission report, report of the Parliamentary Standing

    Committee, judgment in Unni Krishnan etc. were the basis on  which  the

    Constitution (Ninety-third  Amendment)  Bill,  2001  was  prepared  and

    presented.  Statement of objects and reasons of the  Bill  given  below

    would indicate that fact:

           “2. With a view to making right to education free and compulsory

           education a fundamental right,  the  Constitution  (Eighty-third

           Amendment ) Bill, 1997  was  introduced  in  the  Parliament  to

           insert a new article, namely,  Article  21A  conferring  on  all

           children in the age group of 6 to14 years the right to free  and

           compulsory education. The  said  Bill  was  scrutinized  by  the

           Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human  Resource  Development

           and the subject was also dealt with in its 165th Report  by  the

           Law Commission of India.

           3. After  taking  into  consideration  the  report  of  the  Law

           Commission of India and  the  recommendations  of  the  Standing

           Committee of Parliament, the proposed amendments  in  Part  III,

           Part IV and Part IVA of the Constitution are  being  made  which

           are as follows:

           (a) to provide for free and compulsory education to children  in

           the age group  of  6  to  14  years  and  for  this  purpose,  a

           legislation  would  be  introduced  in  parliament   after   the

           Constitution (Ninety-third Amendment) Bill, 2001 is enacted;

           (b) to provide in article 45 of the Constitution that the  State

           shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education to

           children below the age of six years; and

           (c) to amend article 51A of the  Constitution  with  a  view  to

           providing that it shall be the  obligation  of  the  parents  to

           provide opportunities for education to their children.

           4. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects.”

    15.       The above Bill was passed and  received  the  assent  of  the

    President on 12.12.2002 and was published in the Gazette  of  India  on

    13.12.2002  and  the  following  provisions  were   inserted   in   the

    Constitution; by the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002.


Part III – Fundamental Rights

           "21A. Right to Education.– The  State  shall  provide  free  and           compulsory education to all  children  of  the  age  of  six  tofourteen years  in  such  manner  as  the  State  may,  by  law, determine.

               Part IV – Directive Principles of State Policy

           45. Provision for early childhood care and education to children

           below the age of  six  years.–  The  State  shall  endeavour  to

           provide early childhood care  and  education  for  all  children

           until they complete the age of six years.

Part IVA – Fundamental Duties

           51A. Fundamental duties - It shall be the duty of every  citizen

           of India –

                       xxx        xxx        xxx

           (k)   who is a parent or guardian to provide  opportunities  for

           education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between  the

           age of six and fourteen years."

     16.     Reference  was  earlier  made  to  the  Parliamentary  Standing

     Committee Report, 165th Law Commission Report,  1998  and  the  opinion

     expressed by the Department  of  Education  so  as  to  understand  the

     background of the introduction of Article 21A which is  also  necessary

     to properly understand the scope of the Act.    In Herron v.  Rathmines

     and Rathgar Improvement Commissioners [1892] AC  498  at  p.  502,  the

     Court held that the  subject-matter  with  which  the  Legislature  was

     dealing, and the facts existing at the time with respect to  which  the

     Legislature was  legislating  are  legitimate  topics  to  consider  in

     ascertaining what was the object and  purpose  of  the  Legislature  in

     passing the Act.  In Mithilesh Kumari and Another v. Prem Behari  Khare

     [(1989) 2 SCC  95],  this  Court  observed  that  “where  a  particular

     enactment or amendment is the  result  of  recommendation  of  the  Law

     Commission of India, it may be permissible to  refer  to  the  relevant

     report.”  (See also Dr. Baliram Waman Hiray v.  Justice B.  Lentin  and

     Others [(1988) 4 SCC 419], Santa Singh v. State of Punjab [(1976) 4 SCC

     190], Ravinder Kumar Sharma v. State of Assam [(1999) 7 SCC 435].


     17.    Unni Krishnan had created mayhem and  raised  thorny  issues  on

     which the Law Commission had built up its edifice, suo moto.   The  Law

     Commission had acknowledged the fact that but for  the  ratio  in  Unni

     Kirshnan the unaided private educational  institutions  would  have  no

     obligation to impart free and  compulsory  education  to  the  children

     admitted in their institutions.   Law Commission was also of  the  view

     that the ratio in Unni  Krishnan  had  legitimized  the  State  or  the

     affiliating  Board  to  require  unaided  educational  institutions  to

     provide  free  education,  as  a  condition  for  affiliation  or   for

     permitting the students to appear for the Government/Board examination.

     18.      Unni Krishnan was questioned contending that  it  had  imposed

     unreasonable restrictions under Article 19(6) of  the  Constitution  on

     the administration of the private educational institutions and that the

     rights of minority communities guaranteed under Article 29 and  Article

     30 were eroded.  Unni  Krishnan  scheme  which  insisted  that  private

     unaided educational institutions should provide for “free seats”  as  a

     condition for recognition or affiliation was also questioned contending

     that the same would amount to nationalisation of seats.



     19.      T.M.A. Pai Foundation and others v.  State  of  Karnataka  and

     others [(2002) 8 SCC 481] examined the correctness of  the  ratio  laid

     down in Unni Krishnan  and  also  the  validity  of  the  scheme.   The

     correctness of the rigid percentage of reservation  laid  down  in  St.

     Stephen’s College v. University of Delhi [(1992) 1 SCC 558] in the case

     of minority aided educational institutions and the meaning and contents

     of Articles 30 and 29(2) were also examined.

     20.     Pai Foundation  acknowledged  the  right  of  all  citizens  to

     practice any profession, trade or business under Article  19(1)(g)  and

     Article 26 and held those rights would be  subject  to  the  provisions

     that were placed under Article  19(6)  and  26(a)  and  the  rights  of

     minority to establish and  administer  educational  institutions  under

     Article 30 was also upheld.

     21.     Unni Krishnan scheme was  held  unconstitutional,  but  it  was

     ordered that there should be no  capitation  fee  or  profiteering  and

     reasonable surplus to meet the cost of expansion  and  augmentation  of

     facilities would not mean profiteering.  Further, it was  also  ordered

     that the expression “education” in all the Articles of the Constitution

     would mean and include education at all levels, from primary  education

     level up  to  post  graduate  level  and  the  expression  “educational

     institutions”  would  mean  institutions  that  impart   education   as

     understood in the Constitution.

     22.       Pai  Foundation  has  also  recognised  that  the  expression

     “occupation” in Article 19(1)(g) is an activity of a person  undertaken

     as a means of livelihood or a mission in life and hence  charitable  in

     nature and that establishing and running an educational institution  is

     an occupation, and in that process a reasonable revenue surplus can  be

     generated for the purpose of development of education and expansion  of

     the institutions.  The right to establish  and  administer  educational

     institutions, according to Pai Foundation,  comprises  right  to  admit

     students, set up a reasonable fee  structure,  constitute  a  governing

     body, appoint staff, teaching and non-teaching and to take disciplinary

     action.   So  far  as  private  unaided  educational  institutions  are

     concerned, the Court held that maximum autonomy  has  to  be  with  the

     management with  regard  to  administration,  including  the  right  of

     appointment, disciplinary powers, admission of students and the fee  to

     be  charged  etc.  and  that  the  authority  granting  recognition  or

     affiliation  can  certainly  lay  down  conditions  for  the  grant  of

     recognition or affiliation but those conditions must pertain broadly to

     academic and educational matters and welfare of students and  teachers.

     The Court held that the right to establish an  educational  institution

     can be regulated but such regulatory measures must  be  in  general  to

     ensure proper academic standards,  atmosphere  and  infrastructure  and

     prevention  of  maladministration.   The  necessity  of  starting  more

     quality private unaided educational institutions  in  the  interest  of

     general public was also emphasised by the Court  by  ensuring  autonomy

     and non-regulation in the school administration, admission of  students

     and fee to be charged.  Pai Foundation rejected  the  view  that  if  a

     private school is allowed to  charge  fee  commensurate  with  the  fee

     affordable, the degrees would be purchasable  as  unfounded  since  the

     standards of education can be and are controllable through recognition,

     affiliation and common final  examination.   Casting  burden  on  other

     students to pay for the education of others was also disapproved by Pai

     Foundation holding that there should be no cross-subsidy.

     23.       Pai Foundation has also dealt with the case of private  aided

     professional institutions, minority and non-minority,  and  also  other

     aided institutions and stated that once aid is  granted  to  a  private

     professional educational  institution,  the  government  or  the  state

     agency, as a condition of the grant of aid,  can  put  fetters  on  the

     freedom  in  the  matter  of  administration  and  management  of   the

     institution.   Pai Foundation also acknowledged that  there  are  large

     number of educational institutions, like schools  and  non-professional

     colleges, which cannot operate without the  support  of  aid  from  the

     state and the Government in such  cases,  would  be  entitled  to  make

     regulations relating to the terms and conditions of employment  of  the

     teaching and non-teaching staff.  In other words, autonomy  in  private

     aided institutions would be less than that of unaided institutions.

     24.      Pai Foundation also acknowledged the rights of  the  religious

     and linguistic  minorities  to  establish  and  administer  educational

     institutions of their choice under Article 30(1)  of  the  Constitution

     and held that right is not absolute as to prevent the  government  from

     making any regulation whatsoever.  The Court further held  that  as  in

     the  case  of  a  majority  run  institution,  the  moment  a  minority

     institution obtains a grant or aid,  Article  28  of  the  Constitution

     comes into play.

     25.     Pai Foundation further held that the ratio  laid  down  in  St.

     Stephen is not correct and held that even if it is possible to fill  up

     all the seats with students of  the  minority  group,  the  moment  the

     institution is granted aid, the institution will have to admit students

     of the non-minority group to a reasonable extent, whereby the character

     of the institution is not annihilated, and at the same time, the rights

     of the citizen engrafted under  Article 29(2) are  not  subverted.  The

     judgment in Pai Foundation was pronounced on 31.10.2002, 25.11.2002 and

     Article 21A, new Article 45 and Article 51A(k)  were  inserted  in  the

     Constitution on 12.12.2002, but  the  basis  for  the  introduction  of

     Article 21A and the deletion of original clause (3) from  Article  21A,

     was due to the judgment of Unnikrishnan.  Parliament, it may be  noted,

     was presumed to be aware of the judgment in Pai Foundation, and  hence,

     no obligation was cast on unaided private educational institutions  but

     only on the State, while inserting Article 21A.

     26.         The judgment in Pai Foundation, after the  introduction  of

     the above mentioned articles, was interpreted by various Courts,  State

     Governments, educational institutions in different perspectives leading

     to the enactment of various statutes and regulations as well,  contrary

     to each other.  A Bench of five Judges was, therefore,  constituted  to

     clarify certain doubts generated out of the judgment in Pai  Foundation

     and its application.   Rights  of  unaided  minority  and  non-minority

     institutions and restrictions sought to be imposed by  the  State  upon

     them were the main issues before the Court and not with regard  to  the

     rights and obligations of private aided institutions run by  minorities

     and non-minorities. The five Judges’ Bench  rendered  its  judgment  on

     14.8.2003 titled Islamic Academy of Education and another v.  State  of

     Karnataka and others  [(2003)  6  SCC  697].    Unfortunately,  Islamic

     Academy created more problems and  confusion  than  solutions  and,  in

     order to steer clear from that predicament, a seven  Judges  Bench  was

     constituted and the following specific questions were referred for  its


                “(1) To what extent the State can  regulate  the  admissions

           made  by  unaided  (minority  or  non-   minority)   educational

           institutions? Can the State enforce its  policy  of  reservation

           and/or appropriate to itself any quota  in  admissions  to  such


                                                         (emphasis supplied)

                (2) Whether unaided (minority and non-minority)  educational

           institutions are free to devise their own admission procedure or

           whether  direction  made  in Islamic  Academy for   compulsorily

           holding  entrance  test  by  the   State   or   association   of

           institutions and to choose therefrom the  students  entitled  to

           admission in such institutions, can be sustained in light of the

           law laid down in Pai Foundation?

                (3) Whether Islamic Academy could have issued guidelines  in

           the matter of regulating the fee payable by the students to  the

           educational institutions?

                (4)  Can  the  admission  procedure  and  fee  structure  be

           regulated  or  taken  over  by  the  Committees  ordered  to  be

           constituted by Islamic Academy?”

     27.       Above mentioned questions were answered in P.A.  Inamdar  and

     others v. State of Maharashtra and others [(2005) 6 SCC  537]  and  the

     Court cleared all confusion and doubts, particularly insofar as unaided

     minority and non-minority educational institutions are concerned.

     28.       Inamdar specifically examined the inter-relationship  between

     Articles 19(1)(g), 29(2) and 30(1) of the Constitution  and  held  that

     the right to establish  an  educational  institution  (which  evidently

     includes  schools  as  well)  for  charity  or  a  profit,   being   an

     occupation, is protected by Article 19(1)(g) with additional protection

     to  minority  communities  under  Article  30(1).   Inamdar,   however,

     reiterated the  fact  that,  once  aided,  the  autonomy  conferred  by

     protection of Article 30(1) is diluted, as the provisions  of  Articles

     29(2) will be  attracted  and  certain  conditions  in  the  nature  of

     regulations can  legitimately  accompany  the  State  aid.   Reasonable

     restrictions pointed out by Inamdar may be indicated on  the  following

     subjects: (i) the professional or  technical  qualifications  necessary

     for practicing any profession or carrying on any occupation,  trade  or

     business; (ii) the carrying on by the State, or by a corporation  owned

     or controlled by the State of any trade, business, industry or  service

     whether to the exclusion, complete or partial of citizens or otherwise.

     29.        Referring to the judgments in Kerala Education Bill , In Re.

     1959 SCR 995 and St. Stephen, the Court took  the  view  that  once  an

     educational institution is granted aid or aspires for recognition,  the

     State may grant aid or recognition accompanied by certain  restrictions

     or conditions which must be followed as essential to the grant of  such

     aid or recognition.  Inamdar, as I have already indicated,  was  mainly

     concerned with the question whether the State can appropriate the quota

     of unaided educational institutions  both  minority  and  non-minority.

     Explaining Pai Foundation, the Court in Inamdar held as follows:

                “119. A minority educational institution may choose  not  to

           take  any  aid  from  the  State  and  may  also  not  seek  any

           recognition  or  affiliation.   It   may   be   imparting   such

           instructions and may have students learning such knowledge  that

           do not stand in need of any recognition. Such institutions would

           be those  where  instructions  are  imparted  for  the  sake  of

           instructions and learning is only for the sake of  learning  and

           acquiring knowledge. Obviously, such institutions would fall  in

           the category of those who would exercise their right  under  the

           protection and privilege conferred by Article  30(1)  “to  their

           hearts' content” unhampered by any restrictions excepting  those

           which are in national interest based on considerations  such  as

           public safety, national security and national integrity  or  are

           aimed at preventing exploitation of  students  or  the  teaching

           community. Such institutions  cannot  indulge  in  any  activity

           which is violative of any law of the land.

                120. They are free  to  admit  all  students  of  their  own

           minority community if they so  choose  to  do.  (Para  145,  Pai


                (ii) Minority unaided educational  institutions  asking  for

           affiliation or recognition

                121. Affiliation or recognition by the State or the Board or

           the university competent to do so, cannot be  denied  solely  on

           the ground  that  the  institution  is  a  minority  educational

           institution. However,  the  urge  or  need  for  affiliation  or

           recognition brings in the concept of regulation by way of laying

           down conditions consistent  with  the  requirement  of  ensuring

           merit, excellence of education and preventing maladministration.

           For example, provisions can be made indicating  the  quality  of

           the teachers by prescribing the minimum qualifications that they

           must possess and the  courses  of  studies  and  curricula.  The

           existence of infrastructure sufficient for  its  growth  can  be

           stipulated as a prerequisite to  the  grant  of  recognition  or

           affiliation. However, there cannot be interference in the day-to-

           day administration. The essential ingredients of the management,

           including admission of students, recruiting  of  staff  and  the

           quantum of fee to be charged, cannot be regulated. (Para 55, Pai


                122. Apart from the generalised position  of  law  that  the

           right to administer does not include the right to maladminister,

           an additional source of power to regulate by enacting conditions

           accompanying affiliation or recognition exists. A balance has to

           be struck between the two objectives: (i) that of  ensuring  the

           standard of excellence of the  institution,  and  (ii)  that  of

           preserving the right of the minority to establish and administer

           its educational institution. Subject to a reconciliation of  the

           two  objectives,  any  regulation  accompanying  affiliation  or

           recognition must satisfy the  triple  tests:  (i)  the  test  of

           reasonableness  and  rationality,  (ii)  the   test   that   the

           regulation would be  conducive  to  making  the  institution  an

           effective vehicle of education for  the  minority  community  or

           other persons who resort to it,  and  (iii)  that  there  is  no

           inroad into the protection conferred by  Article  30(1)  of  the

           Constitution, that is, by framing the regulation  the  essential

           character  of  the  institution  being  a  minority  educational

           institution, is not taken away. (Para 122, Pai Foundation)

                 (iii) Minority educational institutions receiving State aid.

                123. Conditions  which  can  normally  be  permitted  to  be

           imposed on the educational institutions receiving the grant must

           be related to the proper utilisation of the grant and fulfilment

           of the objectives of the grant  without  diluting  the  minority

           status of the educational institution, as held in Pai Foundation

           (see para 143 thereof). As aided institutions are not before  us

           and we are not called upon to deal with their  cases,  we  leave

           the discussion at that only.

                124. So far as appropriation  of  quota  by  the  State  and

           enforcement of its reservation policy is concerned,  we  do  not

           see much of  a  difference  between  non-minority  and  minority

           unaided educational institutions. We find  great  force  in  the

           submission made on behalf of the  petitioners  that  the  States

           have no power to  insist  on  seat-sharing  in  unaided  private

           professional educational institutions by fixing a quota of seats

           between the management and the State. The State cannot insist on

           private educational institutions which receive no aid  from  the

           State  to  implement  the  State's  policy  on  reservation  for

           granting admission on lesser percentage of  marks  i.e.  on  any

           criterion except merit.

                125. As per our understanding, neither in  the  judgment  of

           Pai Foundation nor in the Constitution Bench decision in  Kerala

           Education Bill which was approved by  Pai  Foundation  is  there

           anything which would allow the  State  to  regulate  or  control

           admissions in the unaided professional educational  institutions

           so as to compel them to give up a share of the  available  seats

           to the candidates chosen by the State, as if it was filling  the

           seats available to be  filled  up  at  its  discretion  in  such

           private institutions. This would amount  to  nationalisation  of

           seats which has been specifically disapproved in Pai Foundation.

           Such imposition of quota of State seats or enforcing reservation

           policy of the State on available seats in  unaided  professional

           institutions are acts constituting serious encroachment  on  the

           right  and  autonomy   of   private   professional   educational

           institutions. Such appropriation of seats can also not  be  held

           to be a regulatory measure  in  the  interest  of  the  minority

           within the meaning of Article 30(1) or a reasonable  restriction

           within the meaning of Article 19(6) of the Constitution.  Merely

           because the resources of the  State  in  providing  professional

           education are limited, private educational  institutions,  which

           intend to  provide  better  professional  education,  cannot  be

           forced by the State to make admissions available on the basis of

           reservation  policy  to  less  meritorious  candidates.  Unaided

           institutions, as they are not deriving any aid from State funds,

           can  have  their  own  admissions  if  fair,  transparent,  non-

           exploitative and based on merit.”  (emphasis supplied)

     Pai Foundation, it was pointed out by  Inamdar,  merely  permitted  the

     unaided private institutions to maintain  merit  as  the  criterion  of

     admission by voluntarily agreeing for seat sharing with  the  State  or

     adopting selection based on common entrance test of the State. Further,

     it was also pointed that unaided  educational  institutions  can  frame

     their own policy to give free-ships and scholarships to the  needy  and

     poor students or adopt a policy in line with the reservation policy  of

     the state to cater to  the  educational  needs  of  weaker  and  poorer

     sections of the society  not  out  of  compulsion,  but  on  their  own

     volition.   Inamdar reiterated that no where in Pai Foundation,  either

     in the majority or  in  the  minority  opinion,  have  they  found  any

     justification for imposing seat sharing quota by the State  on  unaided

     private professional educational institutions and reservation policy of

     the State or State quota seats or management seats.   Further,  it  was

     pointed that the fixation of percentage of quota  is  to  be  read  and

     understood as possible consensual arrangements  which  can  be  reached

     between unaided private professional institutions and the State.  State

     regulations, it was pointed out, should be minimal and only with a view

     to maintain fairness and transparency in  admission  procedure  and  to

     check exploitation of the students  by  charging  exorbitant  money  or

     capitation fees.  Inamdar, disapproved the scheme  evolved  in  Islamic

     Academy to the extent it allowed States to fix quota for  seat  sharing

     between management and the States on the basis of local needs  of  each

     State, in the unaided private educational institutions of both minority

     and non-minority categories.  Inamdar held that to admit students being

     one  of  the  components  of  right  to  establish  and  administer  an

     institution, the State cannot interfere therewith and upto the level of

     undergraduate education, the minority unaided educational  institutions

     enjoy “total freedom”.   Inamdar  emphasised  the  fact  that  minority

     unaided institutions can  legitimately  claim  “unfettered  fundamental

     right” to  choose  the  students  to  be  allowed  admissions  and  the

     procedure therefore subject to its being  fair,  transparent  and  non-

     exploitative and the same principle  applies  to  non-minority  unaided

     institutions as well.  Inamdar also found foul  with  the  judgment  in

     Islamic with regard to the fixation  of  quota  and  for  seat  sharing

     between the management and the State on the basis  of  local  needs  of

     each State in unaided private educational institutions,  both  minority

     and non-minority.  Inamdar noticed that Pai Foundation also found  foul

     with the judgment in Unni Krishnan and held that admission of  students

     in unaided minority educational institutions/schools  where  scope  for

     merit based is practically nil cannot be  regulated  by  the  State  or

     University except for providing the qualification and minimum condition

     of eligibility in the interest of academic standards.

     30.       Pai Foundation as well as Inamdar took the view that laws  of

     the land including rules and regulations must apply equally to majority

     as well as minority institutions  and  minority  institutions  must  be

     allowed to do what majority  institutions  are  allowed  to  do.    Pai

     Foundation  examined the expression  “general  laws  of  the  land”  in

     juxtaposition with “national interest” and stated in Para  136  of  the

     judgment that general laws of land applicable to all persons have  been

     held to be applicable to the minority institutions also,  for  example,

     laws  relating  to  taxation,  sanitation,  social  welfare,   economic

     regulations, public order and morality.

     31.      While examining  the  scope  of  Article  30,  this  fact  was

     specifically referred to in Inamdar (at page 594)  and  took  the  view

     that, in the context of Article 30(1), no right can be absolute and  no

     community  can  claim  its  interest  above  national  interest.    The

     expression “national interest” was used in the  context  of  respecting

     “laws of the land”, namely, while imposing restrictions with regard  to

     laws  relating  to  taxation,  sanitation,  social  welfare,   economic

     legislation, public order and morality and not to make an  inroad  into

     the fundamental rights guaranteed under  Article  19(1)(g)  or  Article

     30(1) of the Constitution.

     32.      Comparing the judgments in Inamdar and  Pai  Foundation,  what

     emerges  is  that  so  far  as  unaided  educational  institutions  are

     concerned, whether they are established and administered by minority or

     non-minority communities, they have no legal obligation in  the  matter

     of seat sharing and upto the level  of  under-graduate  education  they

     enjoy total freedom.  State also cannot compel them to give up a  share

     of the available seats to the candidates chosen by the State.  Such  an

     appropriation of seats, it was held, cannot be held to be a  regulatory

     measure in the interest of minority within the meaning of Article 30(1)

     or a reasonable restriction within the meaning of Article 19(6) of  the

     Constitution since they have unfettered  fundamental  right  and  total

     freedom to run those  institutions  subject  to  the  law  relating  to

     taxation, sanitation,  social  welfare,  economic  legislation,  public

     order and morality.

     33.      Pai Foundation was examining the correctness of the  ratio  in

     Unni Krishnan, which I have already pointed out, was the basis for  the

     insertion of Article 21A and the deletion of clause (3) of the proposed

     Article 21A.  Inamdar also noticed that Pai Foundation had struck  down

     ratio of Unni Krishnan which invaded the rights of unaided  educational

     institutions by framing a scheme.  Article  21A  envisaged  a  suitable

     legislation so  as  to  achieve  the  object  of  free  and  compulsory

     education to children of the age 6 to 14 years and  imposed  obligation

     on the State, and not on unaided educational institutions.

     34.       Parliament, in its wisdom, brought in a new legislation Right

     to Education Act to provide free and compulsory education  to  children

     of the age 6 to 14 years, to discharge the constitutional obligation of

     the State, as envisaged under Article 21A.  Provisions have  also  been

     made in the Act to cast the burden on the non-state actors as well,  to

     achieve the goal of Universal Elementary Education.  The  statement  of

     objects and reasons of the Bill reads as follows:

           “4.   The proposed legislation is anchored in  the  belief  that

           the values of equality, social justice  and  democracy  and  the

           creation of a just and  humane  society  can  be  achieved  only

           through provision of  inclusive  elementary  education  to  all.

           Provision of  free  and  compulsory  education  of  satisfactory

           quality to children from disadvantaged and weaker  sections  is,

           therefore, not merely  the  responsibility  of  schools  run  or

           supported by the appropriate Governments, but  also  of  schools

           which are not dependent on Government funds.”

    35.        The Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha which passed  the

    Bill on 20.7.2009 and in Lok Sabha on 4.8.2009 and received the  assent

    of the President on 26.8.2009 and was published in the Gazette of India

    on 27.8.2009.

    36.        Learned Attorney General of India submitted that the  values

    of equality, social justice and democracy and the creation of just  and

    humane society can be achieved only through a  provision  of  inclusive

    elementary education by admitting children belonging  to  disadvantaged

    group and weaker  sections  of  the  society  which  is  not  only  the

    responsibility of the state and institutions supported by the state but

    also schools which are not  dependent  on  government  funds.   Learned

    Attorney General also submitted that the state has  got  an  obligation

    and a duty to enforce the fundamental rights guaranteed to children  of

    the age of 6 to 14 years for free and compulsory education  and  is  to

    achieve that objective, the Act was enacted.  Learned Attorney  General

    submitted that Article 21A is a socio-economic  right  which  must  get

    priority over rights under Article 19(1)(g) and Article 30(1),  because

    unlike other rights it does not operate merely as a limitation  on  the

    powers of the state but it requires affirmative state action to protect

    and fulfil the rights guaranteed to children of the  age  of  6  to  14

    years for free and compulsory education.  Reference was  also  made  to

    the judgments of this Court in Indian Medical Association v.  Union  of

    India and others [(2011) 7  SCC  179]  (in  short  Medical  Association

    case), Ahmedabad St. Xavier’s College Society and Another v.  State  of

    Gujarat and Another [(1974) 1 SCC  717],  Rev.  Sidhajbhai  Sabhai  and

    Others v. State of Bombay and Another [(1963) 3 SCR  837]  and  In  re.

    Kerala Education Bill (supra).

    37.      Learned Additional Solicitor General in her written as well as

    oral submissions stated that Article 21A must be considered as a  stand

    alone provision and not subjected to Article 19(1)(g) and Article 30(1)

    of the Constitution.   Article  19(1)(g)  and  Article  30(1),  it  was

    submitted, dealt with the subject of right to carry  on  occupation  of

    establishing and administering educational institutions, while  Article

    21A deals exclusively  with  a  child’s  right  to  primary  education.

    Article 21A, it was pointed out, has no saving clause  which  indicates

    that it is meant to be a complete, standalone  clause  on  the  subject

    matter of the right  to  education  and  is  intended  to  exclude  the

    application of Article 19(1)(g) and Article 30(1).   Learned Additional

    Solicitor General submitted that omission of clause (3) in the original

    proposed  Article  21A  would  indicate  that  the  intention  of   the

    Parliament was  to  apply  the  mandate  of  Article  21A  to  all  the

    educational institutions, public or private, aided or unaided, minority

    or non-minority.

    38.       Mrs. Menaka Guruswamy and Mrs. Jayna Kothari,  appearing  for

    the intervener namely The Azim Premji Foundation, in I.A. No. 7 in W.P.

    (C) No. 95/2010, apart from other contentions, submitted  that  Article

    21A calls for horizontal application of sanction on state actors so  as

    to give effect to the fundamental  rights  guaranteed  to  the  people.

    Learned counsels submitted that Sections 15(2), 17, 18, 23  and  24  of

    the Constitution expressly impose constitutional  obligations  on  non-

    state actors and incorporate the notion of  horizontal  application  of

    rights.   Reference was also made to the  judgment  of  this  Court  in

    People’s Union for Democratic Rights and Others v. Union of  India  and

    Others [(1982) 3 SCC 235] and submitted that many  of  the  fundamental

    rights enacted in Part III, such as  Articles  17,  23  and  24,  among

    others, would operate not only against the State but also against other

    private persons.   Reference was also made  to  the  judgment  of  this

    Court Vishaka and Others v. State of Rajasthan [(1997) 6 SCC  241],  in

    which this Court held that all  employees,  both  public  and  private,

    would take positive  steps  not  to  infringe  the  fundamental  rights

    guaranteed to female employees under Articles 14, 15, 21  and  19(1)(g)

    of the Constitution.  Reference was also  made  to  Article  15(3)  and

    submitted that the Constitution  permits  the  State  to  make  special

    provisions regarding children.  Further, it  was  also  contended  that

    Articles  21A  and  15(3)  provide  the   State   with   Constitutional

    instruments to realize the object of the fundamental right to free  and

    compulsory education even through  non-state  actors  such  as  private


    39.      Shri Rajeev Dhavan, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf

    of some of  the  petitioners,  submitted  that  Article  21A  casts  an

    obligation on the state and state alone to provide free and  compulsory

    education to children upto the age of 6 to 14  years,  which  would  be

    evident from the plain reading of Article 21A  read  with  Article  45.

    Learned senior counsel submitted that the words “state  shall  provide”

    are express enough to reveal the intention of the Parliament.  Further,

    it was stated that the constitutional provision never intended to  cast

    responsibility on the private educational institutions along  with  the

    State,  if  that  be  so  like  Article  15(5),  it  would  have   been

    specifically provided so in Article 21A.  Article  21A  or  Article  45

    does not even remotely indicate any  idea  of  compelling  the  unaided

    educational institutions  to  admit  children  from  the  neighbourhood

    against their wish and in violation of the rights guaranteed under  the

    Constitution.   Learned  senior  counsel  submitted   that   since   no

    constitutional  obligation  is  cast   on   the   private   educational

    institutions under Article 21A, the State cannot through a  legislation

    transfer its  constitutional  obligation  on  the  private  educational

    institutions.  Article 21A, it was contended, is  not  subject  to  any

    limitation or qualification so as to offload the responsibility of  the

    State on the private educational institutions  so  as  to  abridge  the

    fundamental rights guaranteed to them under Article  19(1)(g),  Article

    26(a), Article 29(1) and Article 30(1) of the Constitution.

    40.       Learned senior counsel submitted  that  Article  21A  is  not

    meant to deprive the above mentioned  core  rights  guaranteed  to  the

    petitioners and if the impugned provisions of the Act do  so,  to  that

    extent, they may be declared unconstitutional.  Learned senior  counsel

    submitted that the  “core  individual  rights”  always  have  universal

    dimension and thus  represent  universal  value  while  “socio-economic

    rights” envisaged the sectional interest and the core individual right,

    because of its universal nature, promote political equality  and  human

    dignity and hence  must  promote  precedence  over  the  socio-economic

    rights.  Learned senior  counsel  also  submitted  that  constitutional

    concept and the constitutional interpretation given by  Pai  Foundation

    and Inamdar cannot be undone  by  legislation.   Learned  counsel  also

    submitted that the concept of social inclusiveness has to  be  achieved

    not by abridging or depriving the fundamental rights guaranteed to  the

    citizens who have established and are administering their  institutions

    without any  aid  or  grant  but  investing  their  own  capital.   The

    principles stated in Part IV of the  Constitution  and  the  obligation

    cast on the State under Article  21A,  it  was  contended,  are  to  be

    progressively achieved and realised by the State and not  by  non-state

    actors and they are only expected to voluntarily support the efforts of

    the state.

    41.      Shri T.R. Andhyarujina, learned senior counsel  appearing  for

    some of the minority institutions submitted that the object of Articles

    25 to 30 of the Constitution is to preserve the rights of religious and

    linguistic minorities and to  place  them  on  a  secure  pedestal  and

    withdraw them from the vicissitudes of political controversy.   Learned

    senior counsel submitted that the very purpose of  incorporating  those

    rights in Part-III is to afford them guarantee and protection  and  not

    to interfere with those rights except in larger  public  interest  like

    health, morality, public safety,  public  order  etc.   Learned  senior

    counsel extensively referred to various  provisions  of  the  Act,  and

    submitted  that  they  would  make  serious  inroad  into  the   rights

    guaranteed to  the  minority  communities.    Learned  counsel  further

    submitted that Section 12(1)(b) and 12(1)(c) in fact,  completely  take

    away the rights guaranteed to minority  communities,  though  what  was

    permitted by this Court was only  “sprinkling  of  outsiders”  that  is

    members of all the communities.  Counsel submitted that the  mere  fact

    that some of the  institutions  established  and  administered  by  the

    minority communities have been given grant or  aid,  the  State  cannot

    take away the rights guaranteed to them  under  Article  30(1)  of  the

    Constitution of India.   Learned counsel  submitted  that  Article  21A

    read with Article 30(1) also confers a right on a  child  belonging  to

    minority community for free and compulsory education in an  educational

    institution established and administered by the minority community  for

    their own children and such a constitutionally guaranteed right  cannot

    be taken away or abridged by law.


Article 21A and RTE Act

    42.     Right to education, so far as children of the age 6 to 14 years

    are concerned, has been elevated to the  status  of  fundamental  right

    under Article 21A and a corresponding obligation has been cast  on  the

    State, but through Sections  12(1)(b)  and  12(1)(c)  of  the  Act  the

    constitutional obligation of the State is sought to  be  passed  on  to

    private  educational  institutions   on   the   principle   of   social

    inclusiveness.   Right  to  Education  has  now  been  declared  as   a

    fundamental right of children of the  age  6  to  14  years  and  other

    comparable rights or even superior  rights  like  the  Right  to  food,

    healthcare, nutrition, drinking  water,  employment,  housing,  medical

    care may also get the status of fundamental rights, which may be on the

    anvil.   Right guaranteed to children under Article  21A  is  a  socio-

    economic right and the Act was enacted to fulfil that  right.   Let  us

    now examine how these rights have been recognized and given  effect  to

    under our Constitution and in other countries.

    43.      Rights traditionally have  been  divided  into  civil  rights,

    political rights and socio-economic rights; the former rights are often

    called  the  first  generation  rights  and  the  latter,  the   second

    generation rights.  First generation rights have also been described as

    negative rights because they impose a duty and restraint on  the  state

    and generally no positive duties flow from them with  some  exceptions.

    Over lapping of both the rights are not uncommon.   It  is  puerile  to

    think that the former rights can be realised in isolation of the latter

    or that one overrides the others.

    44.       Socio-economic  rights  generally  serve  as  a  vehicle  for

    facilitating the values of equality, social justice and  democracy  and

    the state is a key player in securing that goal.  The preamble  of  the

    Indian Constitution, fundamental rights in Part III and  the  Directive

    Principles of State Policy in Part IV are often called and described as

    “conscience of the Constitution” and they reflect our civil,  political

    and socio-economic rights which we have  to  protect  for  a  just  and

    humane society.

    45.     Supreme Court through various judicial pronouncements has  made

    considerable headway in the realization of  socio-economic  rights  and

    made them justiciable despite the fact that many of those rights  still

    remain as Directive Principles of State Policy.  Civil,  political  and

    socio-economic rights find their expression  in  several  international

    conventions like U.N.  Convention  on  Economic,  Social  and  Cultural

    Rights 1966 (ICESCR), International Covenant  on  Civil  and  Political

    Rights 1966  (ICCPR),  Universal  Declaration  of   Human  Rights  1948

    (UDHR), United Nations Convention on Rights of Child  1989  (UNCRC)etc.

    Reference to some of the  socio-economic  rights  incorporated  in  the

    Directive Principles of the State Policy in this connection is  useful.

    Article 47 provides for duty of the State  to  improve  public  health.

    Principles enshrined in Articles 47 and 48 are not  pious  declarations

    but for guidance and governance of the State policy in view of  Article

    37 and it is the duty of the  State  to  apply  them  in  various  fact


    46.    Supreme Court has  always  recognized  Right  to  health  as  an

    integral part of right to life under Article 21  of  the  Constitution.

    In Consumer Education & Research Centre and Others v.  Union  of  India

    and others [(1995) 3 SCC 42], this Court held that the  right  to  life

    meant a right to a meaningful  life,  which  is  not  possible  without

    having right to healthcare.   This Court while dealing with  the  right

    to healthcare of persons working in  the  asbestos  industry  read  the

    provisions of Articles 39, 41 and 43 into Article 21. In Paschim  Banga

    Khet Majdoor Samity and Others v. State  of  West  Bengal  and  Another

    [(1996) 4 SCC 37], this Court not only declared Right to  health  as  a

    Fundamental Right but enforced that right by asking the  State  to  pay

    compensation for the loss suffered and also to formulate  a  blue-print

    for primary health care with particular reference to the  treatment  of

    patients during emergency.  A note of caution  was  however  struck  in

    State of Punjab and Others v. Ram Lubhaya Bagga and  Others  [(1998)  4

    SCC 117] stating that no State or country can have unlimited  resources

    to spend on any of its projects and the same holds good  for  providing

    medical facilities to citizens.  In Social Jurist, A Lawyers  Group  v.

    Government Of NCT Of Delhi and Others [(140) 2007 DLT 698], a  Division

    Bench of Delhi High Court, of which one of us, Justice Swatanter  Kumar

    was a party, held that the wider interpretations given  to  Article  21

    read with Article 47 of the Constitution of India are  not  only  meant

    for the State but they are equally true for all, who are placed  at  an

    advantageous situation because  of  the  help  or  allotment  of  vital

    assets.   Dharamshila Hospital & Research Centre  v.  Social  Jurist  &

    Ors.; SLP (C) No.18599 of 2007 decided on 25.07.2011 filed against  the

    judgment was  dismissed  by  this  Court  directing  that  petitioners’

    hospitals to provide medical care to a  specified  percentage  of  poor

    patients since some of the private  hospitals  are  situated  on  lands

    belonging to the State or getting other concessions from the State.

    47.      Right to shelter or housing is also  recognized  as  a  socio-

    economic right which finds its expression in Article 11 of  the  ICESCR

    but finds  no  place  in  Part-III  or  Part-IV  of  our  Constitution.

    However, this right has  been  recognized  by  this  Court  in  several

    judgments by giving a wider meaning to Article 21 of the  Constitution.

    In Olga Tellis and Others v.  Bombay Municipal Corporation  and  Others

    [(1985) 3 SCC 545], this Court was considering the claims  of  evictees

    from their slums and pavement dwellings on the plea of  deprivation  of

    right to livelihood and right to  life.   Their  claim  was  not  fully

    accepted by this Court holding that no one  has  the  right  to  use  a

    public property for private purpose without requisite authorization and

    held that it is erroneous to contend that pavement  dwellers  have  the

    right to encroach upon the pavements by constructing dwellings thereon.

     In Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Gurnam Kaur [(1989) 1  SCC  101],

    this Court held that  Municipal  Corporation  of  Delhi  has  no  legal

    obligation  to  provide  pavement  squatters  alternative   shops   for

    rehabilitation as the squatters had no legally enforceable  right.   In

    Sodan Singh and Others v. New  Delhi  Municipal  Committee  and  Others

    [(1989) 4 SCC 155], this Court negated the claim of citizens to  occupy

    a particular place on the pavement to conduct a trade, holding the same

    cannot be construed as a fundamental right.  Socio-economic compulsions

    in several cases did not persuade this Court to provide reliefs in  the

    absence of any constitutional or statutory right.  A different note was

    however struck in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation v. Nawab  Khan  Gulab

    Khan and Others [(1997) 11 SCC 121]  in  the  context  of  eviction  of

    encroachers from  the  city  of  Ahmedabad.   This  Court  held  though

    Articles 38, 39 and 46 mandate the State, as its  economic  policy,  to

    provide socio-economic justice, no person has a right to  encroach  and

    erect structures otherwise on foot-paths, pavements or public  streets.

    The Court has however opined that the State has the constitutional duty

    to provide adequate facilities and opportunities  by  distributing  its

    wealth and resources for settlement of life  and  erection  of  shelter

    over their heads to make the right to life meaningful.

    48.      Right to work does not oblige the State to  provide  work  for

    livelihood which has also been not recognized as a  fundamental  right.

    Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (Act 42 of

    2005) guarantees at least 100 days of work in every financial  year  to

    every household whose adult members volunteer manual work on payment    of  minimum wages.  Article 41 of  the  Constitution  provides  that  State

    shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make

    effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to

    public assistance in cases  of  unemployment,  old  age,  sickness  and

    disablement, which right is also reflected  in  Article  6  of  ICESCR.

    Article 38 of Part-IV states that the State shall strive to promote the

    welfare of the people and Article 43 states that it shall endeavour  to

    secure a living wage and a decent standard of life to all workers.   In

    Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India and Others [(1984) 3 SCC 161], a

    Public Interest Litigation, an NGO highlighted the deplorable condition

    of bonded labourers in a quarry in Haryana.  It was pointed out that  a

    host of protective and welfare oriented labour legislations,  including

    Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act, 1976 and the Minimum Wages Act, 1948were   not  followed.   This  Court  gave  various  directions  to  the  State

    Government to enable it  to  discharge  its  constitutional  obligation

    towards bonded labourers.  This Court held  that  right  to  live  with

    human dignity enshrined in Article 21 derives its life breath from  the

    Directive Principles of State Policy, particularly clauses (e) and  (f)

    of Article 39 and Articles 41 and 42 and  held  that  it  must  include

    protection of the health and strength of workers, men and women and  of

    the tender age of children against abuse, opportunities and  facilities

    for children to develop in  a  healthy  manner  and  in  conditions  of

    freedom and dignity, educational facilities, just and humane conditions

    of work and maternity relief.

    49.       The Constitutional Court of  South  Africa  rendered  several

    path-breaking  judgments  in   relation   to   socio-economic   rights.

    Soobramoney v. Minister of Health  (KwaZulu-Natal)  [1998  (1)  SA  765

    (CC)] was a case concerned with the right of emergency health services.

     Court held that the State owes no duty  to  provide  the  claimant,  a

    diabetic sufferer, with kidney dialysis on  a  plea  of  socio-economic

    right.  Petitioner was denied dialysis by a local hospital on the basis

    of a prioritization policy  based  on  limited  resources.   The  Court

    emphasised that the responsibility of fixing the health care budget and

    deciding  priorities  lay  with  political  organization  and   medical

    authorities, and that the court would be slow to  interfere  with  such

    decisions if they were rational and “taken in good faith”.

    50.       In Government of the Republic of South Africa and  Others  v.

    Grootboom and others [2001 (1)  SA  46  (CC)]  was  a  case  where  the

    applicants living under appalling conditions in an informal settlement,

    had moved into private land from  which  they  were  forcibly  evicted.

    Camping on a nearby sports field, they applied for an  order  requiring

    the government to provide them with basic shelter.  The  Constitutional

    Court did not recognize a directly enforceable claim to housing on  the

    part of the litigants, but ruled that the State is obliged to implement

    a reasonable policy for those who are destitute.  The  Court,  however,

    limited its role to that of policing the policy making  process  rather

    than  recognizing  an  enforceable  individual  right  to  shelter,  or

    defining a minimum core of the right to be given absolute priority.

    51.      Another notable case of socio-economic right dealt with by the

    South African Court is Minister  of  Health  and  others  v.  Treatment

    Action Campaign and others (TAC) [2002 (5) SA 721 (CC)].  The issue  in

    that case was whether the state is obliged under the right of access to

    health care (Sections 27(1) and (2) of 1996  Constitution)  to  provide

    the anti-retroviral drug Nevirapine to HIV-positive pregnant women  and

    their new born infants.  Referring the policy framed by the State,  the

    Court held that the State  is  obliged  to  provide  treatment  to  the

    patients included in the pilot policy.   The decision was  the  closest

    to acknowledging the individual’s enforceable right.

    52.      In Ex parte Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly: in  re

    Certification of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa [1996

    (4) SA 744 (CC)], the Court made it clear  that  socio-economic  rights

    may be negatively protected  from  improper  invasion,  breach  of  the

    obligation, occurs directly when there is  a  failure  to  respect  the

    right or indirectly when there is  a  failure  to  prevent  the  direct

    entrenchment of the right of another,  or  a  failure  to  respect  the

    existing protection of the right, by taking measures that diminish  the

    protection of private parties obligation, is not to interfere  with  or

    diminish  the  enjoyment  of  the  right  constitutionally   protected.

    Equally important, in enjoyment of that right,  the  beneficiary  shall

    also not obstruct, destroy, or make an inroad on the  right  guaranteed

    to others like non-state actors.

    53.      Few of the other notable South  African  Constitutional  Court

    judgments are: Minister of Public Works and  others  v.  Kyalami  Ridge

    Environmental Association and others  [2001  (7)  BCLR  652  (CC)]  and

    President of the Republic of South Africa v. Modderklip Boerdery (Pty).

    Ltd. [2005 (5) SA 3 (CC)].

    54.       South African Constitution, unlike many  other  constitutions

    of the world, has  included  socio-economic  rights,  health  services,

    food, water, social security  and  education  in  the  Constitution  to

    enable it to serve as an instrument of principled social transformation

    enabling affirmative action and horizontal application of  rights.   To

    most of the social rights, the State’s  responsibility  is  limited  to

    take reasonable legislative and other  measures  within  its  available

    resources to  achieve  the  progressive  realisation  of  those  rights

    [Sections 26(2), and 27(2)].   Few exceptions, however,  give  rise  to

    directly enforceable claims, namely, right not to be  evicted  [Section

    26(3)]; not to be refused emergency medical treatment [Section  27(3)];

    the rights of prisoners to adequate  nutrition  and  medical  treatment

    [Section 35(2)] and rights of  Children  (defined  as  those  under  18

    years) to basic  nutrition,  shelter,  basic  health  care  and  social


    55.      Social economic  rights  have  also  been  recognized  by  the

    constitutional courts of various other countries as well.  In Brown  v.

    Board of Education  [347  U.S.  483],  the  U.S.  Constitutional  Court

    condemned  the  policy  of  segregation  of  blacks  in  the   American

    educational system.  The Court held that the private schools for  black

    and white children are inherently  unequal  and  deprived  children  of

    equal rights.

    56.       In a Venenzuelan  case  Cruz  del  Valle  Balle  Bermudez  v.

    Ministry of Health and Social Action - Case No.15.789  Decision  No.916

    (1999); the Court considered whether those with HIV/AIDS had the  right

    to receive the necessary medicines without  charge  and  identifying  a

    positive duty of prevention at the core of  the  right  to  health,  it

    ordered the Ministry to conduct an effective  study  into  the  minimum

    needs of those with HIV/AIDS to be presented for consideration  in  the

    Government’s next budget. Reference may also be made a judgment of  the

    Canadian Constitution Court in Wilson v. Medical Services Commission of

    British Columbia [(53) D.L.R. (4th) 171].

    57.       I have referred to the rulings of India and  other  countries

    to impress upon the fact that even in the  jurisdictions  where  socio-

    economic rights have been given the status  of  constitutional  rights,

    those rights are available only against State and not  against  private

    state actors, like the private schools, private hospitals etc.,  unless

    they get aid, grant or  other  concession  from  the  State.    Equally

    important principle  is  that  in  enjoyment  of  those  socio-economic

    rights, the beneficiaries should not make an  inroad  into  the  rights

    guaranteed to other citizens.


    58.      Socio-economic rights, I have already indicated,  be  realized

    only against the State  and  the  Statute  enacted  to  protect  socio-

    economic rights is always subject to the rights guaranteed to other non-

    state  actors  under  Articles  19(1)(g),  30(1),  15(1),  16(1)   etc.

    Parliament has faced many  obstacles  in  fully  realizing  the  socio-

    economic rights enshrined in  Part  IV  of  the  Constitution  and  the

    fundamental rights guaranteed to other citizens were often found to  be

    the obstacles.  Parliament has on several occasions imposed limitations

    on the enjoyment of  the  rights  guaranteed  under  Part  III  of  the

    Constitution, through constitutional amendments.

    59.       Parliament, in order to give effect  to  Article  39  and  to

    remove the obstacle for realization of socio-economic rights,  inserted

    Article 31A vide Constitution (First Amendment)  Act,  1951  and  later

    amended by the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act, 1955 and  both  the

    amendments were given retrospective effect from the commencement of the  Constitution.  The purpose of the first amendment was to eliminate  all

    litigations challenging the validity of legislation for  the  abolition

    of proprietary and intermediary interests in  land  on  the  ground  of

    contravention of the provisions of Articles  14,  19  and  31.  Several

    Tenancy and Land Reforms Acts enacted by the State also stood protected

    under Article 31A from the challenge of violation of  Articles 14  and  19.

    60.       Article 31B also saves  legislations  coming  under  it  from

    inconsistency with any of the fundamental rights included in  Part  III

    for example Article 14, Article 19(1)(g) etc.   Article 31B  read  with

    Ninth Schedule  protects  all  laws  even  if  they  are  violative  of

    fundamental rights.  However, in I.R. Coelho (Dead) by LRs v. State  of

    Tamil Nadu and Others [(2007) 2 SCC 1], it was held that laws  included

    in the Ninth Schedule can be  challenged,  if  it  violates  the  basic

    structure of the Constitution which refer to Articles 14, 19, 21 etc.



    61.      Article 31C was inserted  by  the  Constitution  (Twenty-fifth

    Amendment) Act, 1971 which gave primacy to Article 39(b) and  (c)  over

    fundamental rights contained under Article  14  and  19.   Article  31C

    itself was amended by the Constitution  (Forty-second  Amendment)  Act,

    1976 and brought in all the provisions in Part-IV, within  Article  31C

    for protecting laws from challenge under  article  14  and  19  of  the


    62.       I have referred to Articles 31A to 31C only to point out  how

    the laws giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing  all

    or any of the principles laid down in  Part-IV  stood  saved  from  the

    challenge on the ground of violation or infraction of  the  fundamental

    rights contained in Articles 14 and 19.   The  object  and  purpose  of

    those constitutional provisions is to remove the obstacles which  stood

    in the way of enforcing socio-economic rights incorporated  in  Part-IV

    of the Constitution and also to secure certain rights, guaranteed under

    Part III of the Constitution.

    63.        Rights  guaranteed  under  Article  19(1)(g)  can  also   be

    restricted or curtailed in the  interest  of  general  public  imposing

    reasonable restrictions on  the  exercise  of  rights  conferred  under

    Article 19(1)(g).  Laws can be enacted so as to impose  regulations  in

    the interest of public health, to prevent black marketing of  essential

    commodities,  fixing  minimum  wages  and   various   social   security

    legislations  etc.,  which  all  intended  to  achieve   socio-economic

    justice.   Interest  of  general  public,  it  may  be  noted,   is   a

    comprehensive expression comprising several issues which affect  public

    welfare, public convenience, public  order,  health,  morality,  safety

    etc. all intended to achieve socio-economic justice for the people.

    64.       The law is however well settled that the State cannot  travel

    beyond the contours of  Clauses  (2)  to  (6)  of  Article  19  of  the

    Constitution in curbing the fundamental  rights  guaranteed  by  Clause

    (1), since the Article guarantees an absolute and unconditional  right,

    subject only to reasonable  restrictions.   The  grounds  specified  in

    clauses (2) to (6) are exhaustive and are  to  be  strictly  construed.

    The Court, it may be noted, is not concerned with the necessity of  the

    impugned legislation or the wisdom of the  policy  underlying  it,  but

    only whether the restriction is  in  excess  of  the  requirement,  and

    whether the law has over-stepped the Constitutional limitations.  Right

    guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g), it may be noted, can be burdened  by

    constitutional limitations like sub-clauses (i) to (ii) to Clause (6).

    65.       Article 19(6)(i) enables the State to make  law  relating  to

    professional or technical qualifications necessary for  practicing  any

    profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.  Such laws

    can  prevent  unlicensed,  uncertified   medical   practitioners   from

    jeopardizing life and health of people.  Sub  clause  (ii)  to  Article

    19(6) imposes no limits upon  the  power  of  the  State  to  create  a

    monopoly in its favour.  State can also by law  nationalize  industries

    in the interest of general public.  Clause (6)(ii) of Article 19 serves

    as an exception to clause (1)(g) of Article 19 which enable  the  State

    to enact several legislations in nationalizing trades  and  industries.

    Reference may be made to Chapter-4 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1938, The

    Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970,

    General Insurance Business (Nationalization) Act, 1972 and so on.  Sub-

    clause 6(ii) of Article 19 exempts the  State,  on  the  conditions  of

    reasonableness, by laying down that carrying out any  trade,  business,

    industry or services by the State Government would not be  questionable

    on the ground that it is an infringement on the right guaranteed  under

    Article 19(1)(g).

    66.       I have referred to various provisions under  sub-clauses  (i)

    and (ii) of Article 19(6) to impress upon the fact that it is  possible

    to amend the said  Article  so  that  socio-economic  rights  could  be

    realized by carving out necessary constitutional limitations abrogating

    or abridging the right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g).

    67.       Constitutional amendments have also been made to Articles  15

    and 16 so as to achieve socio-economic justice.   Articles  15  and  16

    give power to the State to make positive discrimination  in  favour  of

    the disadvantaged and  particularly,  persons  belonging  to  Scheduled

    Castes and Scheduled Tribes.  Socio-economic empowerment  secures  them

    dignity of person and equality of status,  the  object  is  to  achieve

    socio-economic equality.

    68.      Faced with many obstacles to achieve the above objectives  and

    the Directive Principles of the State Policy, Articles 15 and 16 of the

    Constitution had to be amended on several occasions so as to  get  over

    the obstacles in achieving the socio-economic  justice.   In  State  of

    Madras v. Shrimati Champakam Dorairajan [(1951) 2 SCR 525], this  Court

    laid down the law that Article 29(2) was not controlled by  Article  46

    of  the  Directive  Principles  of  the  State  Policy  and  that   the

    Constitution did not intend to protect the  interest  of  the  backward

    classes in the matter of admission to  educational  institutions.    In

    order to set right the law and to achieve social  justice,  Clause  (4)

    was added to Article 15 by the Constitutional  (First  Amendment)  Act,

    1951 enabling the State to make special provision for  the  advancement

    of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens  or  for

    the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.   The object of  Clause  (4)

    was to bring Articles 15 and 29 in line with Articles 16(4), 46 and 340

    of the Constitution, so as to make it constitutional for the  State  to

    reserve seats for  backward  classes  citizens,  Scheduled  Castes  and

    Scheduled Tribes in the public educational institutions, as well as  to

    make special provisions, as may be necessary, for the advancement, e.g.

    to provide housing accommodation for such classes.    In  other  words,

    Article 15(4) enables the State to do what would  otherwise  have  been

    unconstitutional.  Article 15(4) has to be read  as  a  proviso  or  an

    exception to Article 29(2) and if  any  provision  is  defined  by  the

    provisions of Article 15(4), its validity cannot be questioned  on  the

    ground that it violates Article 29(2).  Under Article 15(4), the  State

    is entitled to reserve a minimum number of seats  for  members  of  the

    backward  classes,  notwithstanding  Article  29(2)  and  the  obstacle

    created under Article 29(2)  has  been  removed  by  inserting  Article


    69.      The Parliament noticed that the provisions  of  Article  15(4)

    and the policy of reservation could not be imposed by the State nor any

    quota or percentage of admission be carved out to  be  appropriated  by

    the State in minority or non-minority unaided educational  institution,

    since the law was clearly declared in Pai Foundation and Inamdar cases.

     It was noticed that the number of seats available in  aided  or  State

    maintained  institutions  particularly  in  respect   of   professional

    educational institutions were limited in comparison to those in private

    unaided institutions.  Article 46 states that the State shall  promote,

    with special care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker

    sections of the people, and, in particular of the Scheduled Castes  and

    Scheduled  Tribes,  and  shall  protect  them  from  social  injustice.

    Access to education was also found to be an  important  factor  and  in

    order to ensure advancement of persons belonging to  Scheduled  Castes,

    Scheduled Tribes, socially and economically backward  classes,  it  was

    proposed to introduce Clause (5) to Article 15 to  promote  educational

    advancement of socially and educationally backward classes of  citizens

    i.e. OBCs,  Scheduled  Castes  and  Scheduled  Tribes  and  the  weaker

    sections of the society by securing admission  in  unaided  educational

    institutions and other minority educational institutions referred to in

    Clause (1) of Article 30 of the Constitution.

    70.       The Parliament has, therefore, removed the obstacles  created

    by the law as ruled by the Court in Pai Foundation and Inamdar so as to

    carry out the obligation under the Directive Principles  of  the  State

    Policy laid down under Article 46.  Later, the Parliament  enacted  the

    Central Educational Institutions (Reservation and Admission) Act,  2006

    (for short ‘the CEI Act’), but the Act never intended to give effect to

    the mandate of the newly introduced Clause (5) to  Article  15  dealing

    with  admissions  in  both  aided  and  unaided   private   educational


    71.       Constitutional validity of Clause (5) to Article 15  and  the

    CEI Act came up for consideration before a Constitutional Bench of this

    Court in Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India and Others [(2008) 6 SCC

    1].   CEI Act was enacted by the Parliament under  Article  15(5),  for

    greater  access  to  higher  education  providing  for  27   per   cent

    reservation for “Other Backward  Classes”  to  the  Central  Government

    controlled educational  institutions,  but  not  on  privately  managed

    educational institutions.   Constitutional validity  of  Article  15(5)

    was challenged  stating  that  it  had  violated  the  basic  structure

    doctrine.   The majority of the Judges in  Ashok  Kumar  Thakur’s  case

    declined to pronounce  on  the  question  whether  the  application  of

    Article 15(5)  to  private  unaided  institutions  violated  the  basic

    structure of the Constitution, in my view, rightly because  that  issue

    did  not  arise  for  consideration  in  that  case.   Justice  Dalveer

    Bhandari, however, examined the validity of Article 15(5) with  respect

    to  private  unaided  institutions  and  held  that  an  imposition  of

    reservation of that sort would violate Article 19(1)(g)  and  thus  the

    basic structure doctrine.    Article  19(1)(g),  as  such,  it  may  be

    pointed out, is not a facet of the basic structure of the Constitution,

    and can be constitutionally limited in its operation, with due respect,

    Justice Bhandari has overlooked this vital fact.    Pai  Foundation  as

    well as Inamdar held that Article  19(1)(g)  prevents  the  State  from

    creating reservation quotas or policy in private  unaided  professional

    educational institutions and, as indicated earlier, it was to get  over

    that obstacle that Clause (5) was inserted in  Article  15.   In  Ashok

    Kumar Thakur, the majority held that Clause (5) to Article  15  though,

    moderately abridges or alters the equality principle or the  principles

    under Article 19(1)(g), insofar as it dealt with State  maintained  and

    aided institutions, it did not  violate  the  basic  structure  of  the

    Constitution.   I have referred to Articles 15(4)  and  15(5)  and  the

    judgment in Ashok Kumar Thakur to highlight the fact that the State  in

    order  to  achieve  socio-economic  rights,  can  remove  obstacles  by

    limiting the fundamental rights through constitutional amendments.


    72.        Applicability of  Article  15(5),  with  regard  to  private

    unaided   non-minority   professional   institutions,   came   up   for

    consideration in Medical Association case.  A two judges Bench of  this

    Court has examined the constitutional validity of Delhi Act 80 of  2007

    and the notification dated 14.8.2008 issued by the Government  of  NCT,

    Delhi permitting the Army College of Medical Sciences to allocate  100%

    seats to the wards of army personnel.   The  Court  also  examined  the

    question whether Article 15(5) has violated the basic structure of  the

    Constitution.    The Court proceeded on the  basis  that  Army  Medical

    College is a private non-minority,  unaided  professional  institution.

    Facts indicate that the College was established on a land extending  to

    approximately  25  acres,  leased  out  by  the  Ministry  of  Defence,

    Government of India for a period of 30 years extendable  to  99  years.

    Ministry of Defence also  offered  various  facilities  like  providing

    clinical training at Army Hospital, NCT, Delhi and also access  to  the

    general hospitality.  The constitutional validity of Article 15(5)  was

    upheld holding that Clause (5) of Article 15 did not violate the  basic

    structure of the Constitution.  While reaching that  conclusion,  Court

    also examined the ratio in Pai Foundation as well as in Inamdar.   Some

    of the findings recorded in Medical Association case, on the  ratio  of

    Pai Foundation and Inamdar, in my view, cannot be sustained.



    73.       Medical Association case, it is seen, gives a  new  dimension

    to the expression “much of difference” which appears in paragraph  124,

    page 601  of  Inamdar.  Learned  Judges  in  Medical  Association  case

    concluded in Para 80 of that judgment that the expression  “much  of  a

    difference” gives a clue that there is an “actual  difference”  between

    the rights of the minority unaided institutions  under  clause  (1)  of

    Article 30 and the rights of non-minority  unaided  institutions  under

    sub-clause (g) of Clause (1) of Article 19.  Let us refer to  paragraph

    124 of Inamdar to understand in which context the expression  “much  of

    difference” was used in that judgment, which is extracted below:

                 “So far  as  appropriation  of  quota  by  the  State  and

           enforcement of its reservation policy is concerned,  we  do  not

           see much of  a  difference  between  non-minority  and  minority

           unaided educational institutions.  We find great  force  in  the

           submission made on behalf of the  petitioners  that  the  states

           have no power to  insist  on  seat-sharing  in  unaided  private

           professional educational institutions by  fixing  the  quota  of

           seats  between  the  Management  and  the   State.”    (emphasis


     Inamdar was expressing the view that so far as “appropriation of  quota

     by the State” and “enforcement of its reservation policy” is concerned,

     they do not see much of difference between  non-minority  and  minority

     unaided educational institutions.  Medical  Association  case,  on  the

     other hand, in my view, has gone at a tangent and gave a new  dimension

     and meaning to paragraph 124 of Inamdar,  which  is  evident  from  the

     following paragraph of that judgment:

                 “81.       xxx              xxx

                            xxx              xxx

           (i)   that there is not much of a difference in  terms,  between

           the two kinds of institutions under consideration, based  on  an

           overall quantitative assessment of all the rights put  together,

           with  a  few  differences  that  would  still  have  operational

           significance; or

                  (ii)  that in all respects the two classes of educational

                  institutions  are  more  or  less  the  same,  with   the

                  differences  being  minor  and   not   leading   to   any

                  operational significance.”

                                                         (emphasis supplied)

     Medical Association case concluded  that  the  expression  “much  of  a

     difference” could be understood only in the way  they  have  stated  in

     paragraph 81(i)  which,  with  due  respect,  is  virtually  re-writing

     paragraph  124  of  Inamdar,  a  seven  Judges’   Judgment   which   is

     impermissible.  Final conclusion  reached  by  the  learned  judges  in

     paragraph 123 for inclusion of  Clause  (5)  to  Article  15  reads  as


             “123.     Clause (5) of Article 15 is an enabling provision and

           inserted by the Constitution (Ninety-third Amendment) Act,  2005

           by use of powers of amendment in Article 368.  The  Constitution

           (Ninety-third Amendment) Act,  2005  was  in  response  to  this

           Court’s explanation, in P.A. Inamdar, of  the  ratio  in  T.M.A.

           Pai, that imposition of  reservations  on  non-minority  unaided

           educational institutions, covered by sub-clause  (g)  of  clause

           (1) of Article 19,  to  be  unreasonable  restrictions  and  not

           covered by clause  (6)  of  Article  19.   The  purpose  of  the

           amendment was to clarify or amend the Constitution in  a  manner

           that what was held to be unreasonable would now be reasonable by

           virtue of the constitutional status given to such measures.”

    74.       Referring to Pai Foundation  case,  the  Court  also  stated,

    having allowed the private sector into the field of education including

    higher education, it would be unreasonable, pursuant to clause  (6)  of

    Article 19, for the State to fix the fees and also impose  reservations

    on private unaided educational institutions.  Nevertheless,  the  Court

    opined that taking into consideration the width of the original  powers

    under Clause (6) of Article 19, one would necessarily have to find  the

    State would at least have the power to  make  amendments  to  resurrect

    some of those powers that it had possessed to  control  the  access  to

    higher education and achieve the goals  of  egalitarianism  and  social


    75.      Article 15(5), it may be noted, gives no protection to  weaker

    sections  of  the  society,  except  members  belonging  to   Scheduled

    Castes/Scheduled Tribes and members of Other Backward Community.

    76.       Constitutional  amendments  carried  out  to  Article  16  in

    securing social justice may also be examined in this context.    Clause

    (1) of Article 16 guarantees equality of opportunity for  all  citizens

    in matters relating to employment or appointment to  any  office  under

    the State.   Article 16(4) is  a  special  provision  confined  to  the

    matters of employment in the services under the State which states that

    nothing in Article 16(1)  shall  prevent  the  State  from  making  any

    provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any

    backward class of citizens which is not adequately represented  in  the

    services under the State.   Article 46 obliges the State to take  steps

    for promoting the economic interests of the  weaker  sections  and,  in

    particular,  of  the  Scheduled  Castes  and  Scheduled  Tribes.    The

    expression ‘weaker sections’ in Article  46  is  wider  than  ‘backward

    class’.   The backward citizens in Article 16(4) do not comprise of all

    the weaker sections of the people but only those  which  are  socially,

    educationally and economically backward, and which are  not  adequately

    represented in the services under the State.  Further,  the  expression

    ‘weaker sections’ can also take  within  its  compass  individuals  who

    constitute weaker sections or weaker parts of the society.

    77.      In Indra Sawhney v. Union of India and Others [(1992) Supp.  3

    SCC 212], this Court held that, as the law stood then, there  could  be

    no  reservation  in  promotion.   It  was  held  that  reservation   of

    appointments or posts  under  Article  16(4)  is  confined  to  initial

    appointments only.  To set right the law and to advance social  justice

    by giving promotions to Scheduled Castes and  Scheduled  Tribes  Clause

    (4A) was added to  Article  16  by  the  Constitution  (Seventy-seventh

    Amendment) Act, 1995.  Consequently, the hurdle or obstacle which stood

    in the way was removed by the Constitutional amendment.

    78.       The scope of the above provision came up for consideration in

    Jagdish Lal and Others v. State of Haryana and  Others  [(1997)  6  SCC

    538], where this Court held that the principle of  seniority  according

    to length of continuous service on a post or  service  will  apply  and

    that alone will have to be looked into for  the  purpose  of  seniority

    even though they got promotion ignoring the claim of seniors.   It  was

    said that reserved candidates who got promotion ignoring the  claim  of

    services in general category will be seniors and the same cannot affect

    the promotion of  general  candidates  from  the  respective  dates  of

    promotion and general candidates remain junior in  higher  echelons  to

    the reserved candidates.   The above position was,  however,  overruled

    in Ajit Singh and Others v. State of Punjab and Others  [(1999)  7  SCC

    209], wherein it was decided  that  the  reserved  category  candidates

    cannot count seniority in  the  promoted  category  from  the  date  of

    continuous officiation vis-à-vis the general candidates who were senior

    to them in the lower category and who were later promoted.   Ajit Singh

    case was declaring the law as it stood.   Consequently, the Parliament,

    in order to give continuous appreciation  in  promotion,  inserted  the

    words “with consequential seniority” in Clause (4A) to  Article  16  by

    Constitution  (Eighty-fifth  Amendment)  Act,  2001  (which  was   made

    effective from 17.6.1995).  In the light of Article 16(4A), the  claims

    of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for promotion shall  be  taken

    into consideration in making appointment or giving promotion.

    79.      Constitution (Eighty-first Amendment) Act,  2000,  which  came

    into effect on 9.6.2000, inserted Clause  (4B)  to  Article  16,  which

    envisaged that the unfilled reserved vacancies in a year to be  carried

    forward to subsequent years and that these vacancies are to be  treated

    as distinct and separate from the current vacancies  during  any  year,

    which means that 50% rule is to be applied only to normal vacancies and

    not to the posts of backlog of  reserved  vacancies.    Inadequacy  and

    representation of backward  classes,  Scheduled  Castes  and  Scheduled

    Tribes are the circumstances which  enabled  the  State  Government  to

    enact Articles 16(4), 16(4A) and 16(4B).

    80.       The constitutional validity of Article 16(4A) substituted  by

    the  Constitution  (Eighty-fifth  Amendment)  Act,  2001  came  up  for

    consideration before this Court in M. Nagaraj & Ors. v. Union of  India

    [(2006) 8 SCC 212].   The validity of the Constitution (Seventy-seventh

    Amendment) Act, 1995, the Constitution  (Eighty-first  Amendment)  Act,

    2000, the Constitution (Eighty-second  Amendment)  Act,  2000  and  the

    Constitution (Eighty-fifth Amendment) Act, 2001 were also examined  and

    held valid.  This Court held that they do not infringe either the width

    of the Constitution  amending  power  or  alter  the  identity  of  the

    Constitution or its basic structure.  This Court held that the ceiling-

    limit of 50%, the concept of creamy layer and the  compelling  reasons,

    namely,  backwardness,  inadequacy  of   representation   and   overall

    administrative efficiency are all constitutional  requirements  without

    which the structure of equality of  opportunity  in  Article  16  would


    81.       I have referred extensively to the constitutional  amendments

    effected to Articles 31A to 31C, Articles 15, 16 and 19  to  show  that

    whenever the Parliament wanted  to  remove  obstacles  so  as  to  make

    affirmative action to achieve socio-economic  justice  constitutionally

    valid, the same has been done by carrying out necessary  amendments  in

    the Constitution, not through  legislations,  lest  they  may  make  an

    inroad into the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens.   Rights

    guaranteed  to  the  unaided  non-minority  and  minority   educational

    institutions under Article 19(1)(g) and Article 30(1) as  explained  in

    Pai Foundation  and  reiterated  in  Inamdar  have  now  been  limited,

    restricted and curtailed so as to impose positive  obligation  on  them

    under Section 12(1)(c)  of  the  Act  and  under  Article  21A  of  the

    Constitution,  which  is  permissible   only   through   constitutional


    82.      Constitutional principles laid  down  by  Pai  Foundation  and

    Inamdar on Articles 19(1)(g), 29(2) and 30(1) so far as unaided private

    educational  institutions  are  concerned,  whether  minority  or  non-

    minority, cannot be overlooked and Article 21A, Sections 12(1)(a),  (b)

    and 12(1)(c) have to be tested in the  light  of  those  constitutional

    principles laid down by Pai Foundation and Inamdar because Unnikrishnan

    was the basis for the introduction of the proposed Article 21A and  the

    deletion of clause (3) from that Article.  Interpretation given by  the

    courts on any  provision  of  the  Constitution  gets  inbuilt  in  the

    provisions interpreted, that is, Articles 19(1)(g), 29(2) and 30.

    83.       We have to give due respect to the eleven Judges judgment  in

    Pai Foundation and the seven Judges judgment in Inamdar, the principles

    laid down in those judgments still hold good and are not whittled  down

    by Article 21A,  nor  any  constitutional  amendment  was  effected  to

    Article 19(1)(g) or Article 30(1).  Article 21A, it may  be  noted  was

    inserted in the Constitution on 12.12.2002  and  the  judgment  in  Pai

    Foundation was delivered by this Court on  31.10.2002  and  25.11.2002.

    Parliament is  presumed  to  be  aware  of  the  law  declared  by  the

    Constitutional Court, especially on the  rights  of  the  unaided  non-

    minority and minority  educational  institutions,  and  in  its  wisdom

    thought if fit not to cast any burden on them under  Article  21A,  but

    only on the State.  Criticism of the judgments  of  the  Constitutional

    Courts has to be welcomed, if it is healthy.  Critics, it is seen often

    miss a point which  is  vital,  that  is,  Constitutional  Courts  only

    interpret constitutional provisions and declare what the  law  is,  and

    not what law ought to be, which is the  function  of  the  legislature.

    Factually and legally, it is not correct to comment that  many  of  the

    amendments  are  necessitated  to  overcome  the   judgments   of   the

    Constitutional Courts.  Amendments are necessitated not to get over the

    judgments of the Constitutional Courts, but to make law constitutional.

     In other words, a law which is otherwise unconstitutional is  rendered

    constitutional.  An unconstitutional statute  is  not  a  law  at  all,

    whatever form or however solemnly it is enacted.  When  legislation  is

    declared unconstitutional by a Constitutional Court, the legislation in

    question is not vetoed or annulled but declared never to have been  the

    law.  People, acting solemnly in their sovereign  capacity  bestow  the

    supreme dominion on the Constitution and, declare that it shall not  be

    changed except through constitutionally permissible mode.  When  courts

    declare legislative acts inconsistent with  constitutional  provisions,

    the court is giving effect to the will of the people  not  due  to  any

    judicial supremacy, a principle which squarely applies to the  case  on




    84.       In S.P. Gupta v. President of  India  and  Others  [1981  SCC

    Supp.  (1) 87] [para 195], Justice Fazal Ali pointed out as follows:

            “ The position so far as our country is concerned is similar to

           that of  America  and  if  any  error  of  interpretation  of  a

           constitutional provision is committed by the  Supreme  Court  or

           any interpretation which  is  considered  to  be  wrong  by  the

           Government can be rectified only by a  constitutional  amendment

           which is a very complicated,  complex,  delicate  and  difficult

           procedure requiring not merely a simple majority  but  two-third

           majority of the Members present  and  voting.   Apart  from  the

           aforesaid majority, in  most  cases  the  amendment  has  to  be

           ratified by a majority of the States.  In  these  circumstances,

           therefore, this Court which lays down the law of the land  under

           Article  141  must  be  extremely  careful  and  circumspect  in

           interpreting statutes, more so constitutional provisions, so  to

           obviate the necessity of a constitutional amendment  every  time

           which, as we have already mentioned,  is  an  extremely  onerous



     Reference may also be made to the judgment in Bengal  Immunity  Company   Limited v. State of Bihar and Others [AIR 1955 SC 661].

     85.        In People’s Union for Civil Liberties  (PUCL)  and  Anr.  v.

     Union of India (UOI) and Anr. [2003 (4) SCC 399] in para 112 this Court

     has held “It is a settled  principle  of  constitutional  jurisprudence

     that the only way to render a judicial decision ineffective is to enact

     a valid law by way of amendment…….”

     86.      In Smit v. Allwright [321 U.S. 649 (1944)], the Court held “In

     constitutional questions, where correction depends upon amendment,  and

     not upon legislative action, this  Court  throughout  its  history  has

     freely  exercised  its  power  to   re-examine   the   basis   of   its

     constitutional decisions.  This has long  been  accepted  practice  and

     this practice has continued to this day.”

     87.      Constitutional interpretation given by this Court as  to  what

     the law is, led to  bringing in several amendments either to set  right

     the law or abridge the constitutional rights guaranteed in Part III  of

     the Constitution, some of which I  have  already  referred  to  in  the

     earlier part of this judgment.

     88.      Principles laid down by Pai Foundation and  in  Inamdar  while

     interpreting Articles 19(1)(g), 29(2) and 30(1) in respect  of  unaided

     non-minority and minority educational institutions  like  schools  upto

     the  level  of   under-graduation   are   all   weighty   and   binding

     constitutional  principles  which  cannot  be   undone   by   statutory

     provisions like Section 12(1)(c), since those principles  get  in-built

     in  Article  19(1)(g),  Article  29(2)  and  Article   30(1)   of   the

     Constitution.  Further Parliament, while enacting  Article  21A,  never

     thought if fit to undo those principles and thought it fit to cast  the

     burden on the State.





     89.        We may, however, also examine whether  the  private  unaided

     educational  institutions  have  any  obligations/responsibilities   in

     realization of children’s rights.  Articles 21A, 45, 51A(k), Section 12

     of  the  Act  and  various  International  Conventions  deal  with  the

     obligations and responsibilities of  state  and  non-state  actors  for

     realization of children’s rights.   Social inclusiveness is  stated  to

     be the motto of the Act which was enacted  to  accomplish  the  State’s

     obligation to provide free and compulsory education to children of  the

     age 6 to 14 years, in that  process,  compulsorily  co-opting,  private

     educational institutions as well.  A shift in State’s functions, to non-

     state actors in the field of health care,  education,  social  services

     etc. has  been  keenly  felt  due  to  liberalization  of  economy  and

     privatization of state functions.

     90.       The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948  (UDHR),  the

     International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  (ICCPR)  and  the

     International Covenant on Economic, Social and  Cultural  Rights,  1966

     (ICESCR), UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), 1989  throw

     considerable light on the duties and responsibilities of State as  well

     as non-state actors for the progressive realization of children rights.

      Article 6(1) of ICCPR states: “Every  human  being  has  the  inherent

     right to life … No one shall be arbitrarily deprived  of  this  right”,

     meaning thereby that the arbitrary deprivation of a person’s life  will

     be a violation of international human rights norm whether it is by  the

     State or non-state actors.    UDHR,  ICCPR,  ICESCR,  UNCRC  and  other

     related international covenants guarantee  children  civil,  political,

     economical, social and  cultural  rights.    Article  4  of  the  UNCRC

     requires  the  State  to   undertake   all   appropriate   legislative,

     administrative and other measures for the implementation of the  rights

     recognized in the Convention.

     91.      Article 2.1  of  the  ICESCR,  has  also  approved  the  above

     obligation of the State, which reads as follows:

                “Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take

           steps, individually and through international assistance and co-

           operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum  of

           its available resources, with a view to achieving  progressively

           the full realization of the rights  recognized  in  the  present

           Covenant by all appropriate means,  including  particularly  the

           adoption of legislative measures.”

     Non-state actor’s obligation is also reflected in preamble of ICCPR and

     ICESCR which is as follows:

                “The individual, having duties to other individuals  and  to

           the community to which he belongs, is under a responsibility  to

           strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized

           in the present Covenant.”

     Preamble of UDHR also reads as follows:

               “… every individual and every organ of society, keeping this

           Declaration constantly in mind, shall  strive  by  teaching  and

           education, to promote respect for these rights and freedoms  and

           by progressive measures, national and international,  to  secure

           their universal and effective recognition and observance…”

     Non-state actor’s “duty to the community” and to  the  “individuals  in

     particular” are accordingly highlighted.

      Article 30 of UDHR highlights the necessity to protect  and  safeguard

     the right of others which reads as follows :-

               “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as  implying

           for any state, group or  person  any  right  to  engage  in  any

           activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction  of  any

           of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”


     92.      In this connection reference may be made to  Article  28(1)(a)

     of UNCRC which reads as follows: “States Parties recognize the right of

     the child to education,  and  with  a  view  to  achieving  this  right

     progressively and on the basis of equal  opportunity,  they  shall,  in

     particular: make primary education compulsory  and  available  free  to


          Article 29 is also relevant for our purpose which reads as follow:-

           1. States Parties agree that the education of the child shall  be

              directed to:

           (a) The development of  the  child's  personality,  talents  and

           mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;

           (b) The development of respect for human rights and  fundamental

           freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the

           United Nations;

           (c) The development of respect for the child's parents,  his  or

           her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national

           values of the country in which the child is living, the  country

           from which he  or  she  may  originate,  and  for  civilizations

           different from his or her own;

           (d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a  free

           society, in  the  spirit  of  understanding,  peace,  tolerance,

           equality of sexes, and friendship  among  all  peoples,  ethnic,

           national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin;

           (e) The development of respect for the natural environment.

           2.    No part of the present article  or  article  28  shall  be

           construed so as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and

           bodies to establish and direct educational institutions, subject

           always to the observance of the principle set forth in paragraph

           1 of the present  article  and  to  the  requirements  that  the

           education given in  such  institutions  shall  conform  to  such

           minimum standards as may be laid down by the State.



     93.        Provisions  referred  to  above  and  other  provisions   of

     International Conventions indicate that the rights have been guaranteed

     to the children and those rights carry corresponding State  obligations

     to respect, protect and fulfill the realization of  children’s  rights.

      The obligation to protect implies the horizontal right which casts  an

     obligation on the State to see that it is  not  violated  by  non-state

     actors. For non-state  actors  to  respect  children’s  rights  cast  a

     negative duty of non-violation  to  protect  children’s  rights  and  a

     positive duty on them to prevent the violation of children’s rights  by

     others, and also to fulfill children’s rights  and  take  measures  for

     progressive improvement.    In other words, in the spheres of non-state

     activity there shall be no violation of children’s rights.

     94.      Article 24 of the Indian Constitution  states  that  no  child

     below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any  factory  or

     be engaged in any  hazardous  employment.    The  Factories  Act,  1948

     prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years  in  any

     factory.  Mines Act, 1952 prohibits the employment of children below 14

     years.  Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act,  1986  prohibits

     employment of children in  certain  employments.   Children  Act,  1960

     provides for the  care,  protection,  maintenance,  welfare,  training,

     education and  rehabilitation  of  neglected  or  delinquent  children.

     Juvenile Justice (Care and  Protection  of  Children)  Act,  1986  (the

     Amendment Act 33 of 2006) provide for the care, protection, development

     and rehabilitation of neglected and delinquent  juveniles.   There  are

     also other legislations enacted for the care and protection of children

     like Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act,  1956,  Prohibition  of  Child

     Marriage Act, 2006 and so on.   Legislations referred to above cast  an

     obligation on non-state actors to respect and protect children’s rights

     and not to impair or destroy the rights guaranteed to children, but  no

     positive obligation to make available those rights.

     95.      Primary responsibility for children’s rights, therefore,  lies

     with the State and the  State  has  to  respect,  protect  and  fulfill

     children’s rights and has also got  a  duty  to  regulate  the  private

     institutions that care for children, to protect children from  violence

     or abuse, to protect children  from  economic  exploitation,  hazardous

     work and to ensure human  treatment  of  children.    Non-state  actors

     exercising the state functions like establishing  and  running  private

     educational institutions are also expected to respect and  protect  the

     rights of the child, but they are,  not  expected  to  surrender  their

     rights constitutionally guaranteed.

     96.       Article 21A requires non-state actors to achieve  the  socio-

     economic rights of children in the sense that they shall not destroy or

     impair those rights and also owe a duty of care.  The  State,  however,

     cannot free itself from obligations under Article 21A by offloading  or

     outsourcing its obligation to private State actors like unaided private

     educational institutions or to  coerce  them  to  act  on  the  State’s

     dictate.   Private  educational  institutions  have  to   empower   the

     children,  through  developing  their  skills,   learning   and   other

     capacities, human  dignity,  self-esteem  and  self-confidence  and  to

     respect their constitutional rights.

     97.       I have in the  earlier  part  of  the  judgment  referred  to

     Article 28(1) and Article 29 of UNCRC which cast an obligation  on  the

     State to progressively achieve the rights of children and also to  make

     primary education compulsory and available free to all but all the same

     make it clear that no part of  Articles  28  and  29  be  construed  to

     interfere with the liberty of non-state actors.  They are  expected  to

     observe the principles set forth in Para 1 of Article 29  and  also  to

     conform to such minimum standards as laid down by the state.

     98.       South African Constitution Bench in  Governing  Body  of  the

     Juma Musjid Primary School v. Minister for Education [[2011]  ZACC  13]

     dealt with  the  interplay  between  private  rights  and  the  State’s

     obligation to provide right to education.   In  that  case,  the  Court

     held that the primary positive  obligation  to  provide  the  right  to

     education resides on the Government and the purpose of Section 8(2)  of

     the Constitution is not to obstruct private autonomy or to impose on  a

     private party the duties of the state in protecting the Bill of Rights.

      That was a case involving balancing of proprietary rights of  a  trust

     seeking to evict a public school in order to establish  an  independent

     school.  One of the pleas raised by the evictees was that  the  evictor

     trust also had an obligation towards the  right  to  education  of  the

     learners which it could not ignore.  The Constitutional Court held that

     the only obligation  of  a  private  party  as  regards  socio-economic

     rights, like right to education, is a negative obligation i.e.  not  to

     unreasonably interfere with the realization of the right and that there

     is no positive  obligation  cast  on  them  to  protect  the  right  by

     surrendering their rights.

     99.       Pai Foundation and Inamdar also cast a negative obligation on

     the private educational institutions in the sense that there  shall  be

     no profiteering, no demand of excessive  fee,  no  capitation  fee,  no

     maladministration, no cross subsidy etc.   Further, this  Court,  while

     interdicting the State in appropriating seats  in  private  educational

     institutions, restrained them from interfering  with  the  autonomy  of

     those institutions and adopted a balancing  approach  laying  down  the

     principle of voluntariness, co-operation, concession, and so on.

     100.       Pai Foundation and Inamdar have categorically held that  any

     action of the State to regulate or control admissions  in  the  unaided

     professional educational institutions, so as to compel them to give  up

     a share of the available seats to the candidates chosen by  the  State,

     as if it was filling the  seats  available  to  be  filled  up  at  its

     discretion   in   such   private   institutions,   would   amount    to

     nationalization of seats.  Such imposition of quota of State  seats  or

     enforcing reservation policy of the State on available seats in unaided

     professional institutions, it was held, are acts  constituting  serious

     encroachment on the right and autonomy of private unaided  professional

     educational institutions and such appropriation of seats cannot be held

     to be a regulatory measure in  the  interest  of  minority  within  the

     meaning of Article 30(1) or a reasonable restriction within the meaning

     of Article 19(6) of the Constitution, so far as  the  unaided  minority

     institutions are concerned.



     PART IV



     101.       Article 21A has used the expression  “State  shall  provide”

     not “provide  for”  hence  the  constitutional  obligation  to  provide

     education is on the State and not on non-state actors,  the  expression

     is clear and unambiguous and to interpret that expression to mean  that

     constitutional obligation  or  responsibility  is  on  private  unaided

     educational institutions also,  in  my  view,  doing  violence  to  the

     language of that expression. The obligation of  the  State  to  provide

     free and compulsory education is without any limitation.  Parliament in

     its  wisdom  has  not  used  the  expression  “provide  for”.   If  the

     preposition “for” has been used then the duty of  the  State  would  be

     only to provide education to those who require it but  to  provide  for

     education or rather to see that it is provided.  In this connection  it

     is useful to refer to the judgment of the Supreme Court of  Ireland  in

     Crowley v. Ireland [(1980) IR 102], where the expression “provide  for”

     came  up  for  interpretation.   It  was  held  that  the  use  of  the

     preposition “for” keeps  the  State  at  one  remove  from  the  actual

     provision of education indicating that  once  the  State  has  made  an

     arrangement for the provision of education –  provided  the  buildings,

     pay  teachers  and  set  the  curriculum  -  it  is  absolved  of   the

     responsibility when the  education  is  not  actually  delivered.   The

     absence of the preposition “for” in Article 21A makes the duty  on  the

     State imperative.  State has, therefore, to “provide” and “not  provide

     for” through unaided private educational institutions.

     102.     Article 21A has used the expression “such manner” which  means

     the manner in which the  State  has  to  discharge  its  constitutional

     obligation and not offloading those obligations on unaided  educational

     institutions.  If the Constitution wanted that obligation to be  shared

     by private unaided educational institutions the same  would  have  been

     made explicit in Article 21A.  Further, unamended Article 45  has  used

     the expression “state shall endeavour…..for” and when Article  21A  was

     inserted, the  expression  used  therein  was  that  the  “State  shall

     provide” and not “provide for” the duty, which  was  directory  earlier

     made mandatory so far as State is concerned.  Article 21 read with 21A,

     therefore, cast an obligation on the State and State alone.

     103.          The  State  has  necessarily  to  meet  all  expenses  of

     education  of  children  of  the  age  6  to  14  years,  which  is   a

     constitutional  obligation  under  Article  21A  of  the  Constitution.

     Children  have  also  got  a  constitutional  right  to  get  free  and

     compulsory education, which right can be enforced  against  the  State,

     since the obligation is on the State.  Children  who  opt  to  join  an

     unaided private educational institution  cannot  claim  that  right  as

     against the unaided private educational institution, since they have no

     constitutional obligation to  provide  free  and  compulsory  education

     under Article 21A  of  the  Constitution.   Needless  to  say  that  if

     children are voluntarily admitted  in  a  private  unaided  educational

     institution, children can claim their right against the State, so  also

     the institution.  Article 51A(k) of the  Constitution  states  that  it

     shall be the duty of every  citizen  of  India,  who  is  a  parent  or

     guardian, to provide opportunities for education to his child.  Parents

     have no constitutional obligation under Article 21A of the Constitution

     to provide free and compulsory education to their children, but only  a

     constitutional duty, then one fails to see how that obligation  can  be

     offloaded to unaided private  educational  institutions  against  their

     wish, by law, when  they  have  neither  a  duty  under  the  Directive

     Principles of  State  policy  nor  a  constitutional  obligation  under

     Article 21A, to those 25% children, especially when their parents  have

     no constitutional obligation.

     104.         In Avinash Mehrotra v. Union of India & Others  [{2009}  6

     SCC 398], this Court held that Article 21A imposes a duty on the State,

     while Article 51A(k) places burden on the parents to provide  free  and

     compulsory education to the children of the age 6 to 14  years.   There

     exists a positive obligation on the State and a negative obligation  on

     the non-state actors, like private  educational  institutions,  not  to

     unreasonably interfere with the realization of  the  children’s  rights

     and the state cannot offload their obligation on  the  private  unaided

     educational institutions.

     105.         I am, therefore, of the considered view that Article  21A,

     as  such,  does  not  cast  any  obligation  on  the  private   unaided

     educational institutions to provide free and  compulsory  education  to

     children of the age 6 to 14 years.  Article  21A  casts  constitutional

     obligation on the State to provide free  and  compulsory  education  to

     children of the age 6 to 14 years.


     106.        I may endorse the view that the purpose and object  of  the

     Act is  laudable,  that  is,  social  inclusiveness  in  the  field  of

     elementary education but the means adopted to achieve that objective is

     faulty and constitutionally impermissible.  Possibly,  the  object  and

     purpose of the Act could be achieved  by  limiting  or  curtailing  the

     fundamental rights guaranteed to the unaided non-minority and  minority

     educational institutions under Article 19(1)(g) and  Article  30(1)  or

     imposing a positive obligation on them under Article 21A, but this  has

     not been done in the instant case.  I have extensively dealt  with  the

     question - how the socio economic rights could be  achieved  by  making

     suitable constitutional amendments in Part II of this judgment.

     107.     Sections 12(1)(b) and 12(1)(c) are vehicles through which  the

     concept of social inclusiveness is sought to  be  introduced  into  the

     private schools both aided and unaided including minority institutions,

     so as to achieve the object of free and  compulsory  education  of  the

     satisfactory quality to the disadvantaged groups and weaker sections of

     the society.  The purpose, it  is  pointed  out,  is  to  move  towards

     composite classrooms with children  from  diverse  backgrounds,  rather

     than  homogenous  and  exclusive  schools  and   it   was   felt   that

     heterogeneity in classrooms leads to greater creativity.  In  order  to

     understand the scope of the above mentioned provisions and  the  object

     sought to be achieved, it is necessary to  refer  to  those  and  other

     related provisions:-

           Section 12:-  Extent of School’s  responsibility  for  free  and

           compulsory education –

                 (1) For the purposes of this Act, a school, -

                       (a) specified  in  sub-clause(i)  of  clause  (n)  of

                       section  2  shall   provide   free   and   compulsory

                       elementary education to all children admitted therein;

                       (b)   specified in sub-clause(ii) of  clause  (n)  of

                       section  2  shall   provide   free   and   compulsory

                       elementary education to such proportion  of  children

                       admitted therein  as  its  annual  recurring  aid  or

                       grants so received  bears  to  its  annual  recurring

                       expenses, subject to a  minimum  of  twenty-five  per


                       (c) specified in sub-clauses (iii) and (iv) of clause

                       (n) of section 2 shall  admit  in  class  I,  to  the

                       extent of  at  least  twenty-five  per  cent  of  the

                       strength of that class, children belonging to  weaker

                       section and disadvantaged group in the  neighbourhood

                       and provide free and compulsory elementary  education

                       till its completion:

           Provided further that where a school specified in clause (n)  of

           section  2  imparts  pre-school  education,  the  provisions  of

           clauses (a) to (c) shall apply for admission to such  pre-school


           (2)   The school specified in sub-clause (iv) of clause  (n)  of

           section 2 providing free and compulsory elementary education  as

           specified in clause (c) of sub-section (1) shall  be  reimbursed

           expenditure so  incurred  by  it  to  the  extent  of  per-child

           expenditure incurred by the State, or the actual amount  charged

           from the child, whichever is less, in  such  manner  as  may  be


                       Provided that such reimbursement  shall  not  exceed

           per-child-expenditure incurred by  a  school  specified  n  sub-

           clause (i) of clause(n) of section 2:

                       Provided further where such school is already  under

           obligation to provide free education to a  specified  number  of

           children on account of it having received  any  land,  building,

           equipment or other facilities, either  free  of  cost  or  at  a

           concessional  rate,  such  school  shall  not  be  entitled  for

           reimbursement to the extent of such obligation.

                       (3)  Every school shall provide such information  as

           may be required by  the  appropriate  Government  or  the  local

           authority, as the case may be.

    Reference may be also be made to definition clauses.

            2(d)  “child belonging to disadvantaged  group”  means  a  child

            belonging to the  Scheduled  Caste,  the  Scheduled  Tribe,  the

            socially and educationally backward class or  such  other  group

            having  disadvantage  owing  to  social,  cultural,  economical,

            geographical, linguistic, gender or such other factor, as may be

            specified by the appropriate Government, by notification;

            2(e)   “child  belonging  to  weaker  section”  means  a   child

            belonging to such parent or  guardian  whose  annual  income  is

            lower that  the  minimum  limit  specified  by  the  appropriate

            Government, by notification;

            2(n)  “school” means any recognized school imparting  elementary

            education and includes –

              (i)  a  school  established,  owned  or  controlled  by   the

              appropriate Government or a local authority;

              (ii) an aided school receiving aid or grants to meet whole or

              part of its expenses from the appropriate Government  or  the

              local authority.

              (iii) a school belonging to specified category; and

              (iv) an unaided school not  receiving  any  kind  of  aid  or

              grants to meet its expenses from the  appropriate  Government

              or the local authority.

     (A)    Unaided Educational Institutions, minority and non-minority:

     108.       First,  I  may  deal  with  the  challenge  against  Section

     12(1)(c), which casts an obligation on the unaided private  educational

     institutions both non-minority and minority to  admit  to  class  1  at

     least 25% of the strength of those children falling under Sections 2(d)

     and 2(e), and also in the pre-school, if there is one.  State also  has

     undertaken re-imbursement of the fees of those children to  the  extent

     of per-child expenditure incurred by the State.

     109.      Right of a  citizen  to  establish  and  run  an  educational

     institution investing his own capital is recognized  as  a  fundamental

     right under Article 19(1)(g) and the  right  of  the  State  to  impose

     reasonable restrictions under Article 19(6) is also conceded.  Citizens

     of  this  country  have  no  constitutional  obligation  to  start   an

     educational institution  and  the  question  is  after  having  started

     private schools, do they  owe  a  constitutional  obligation  for  seat

     sharing with the State on a fee structure determined by the State.  Pai

     Foundation and Inamdar took the view that the State cannot regulate  or

     control admission in unaided educational institutions so as  to  compel

     them to give up a share of available seats which according to the court

     would amount to nationalization of seats and such an  appropriation  of

     seats would constitute serious encroachment on the right  and  autonomy

     of the unaided  educational  institutions.   Both  Pai  Foundation  and

     Inamdar are unanimous in their view that such  appropriation  of  seats

     cannot be held to be a regulatory measure in the interest of rights  of

     the unaided minority educational institutions guaranteed under  Article

     30(1) of the  Constitution  or  a  reasonable  restriction  within  the

     meaning  of  Article  19(6)  in  the  case  of   unaided   non-minority

     educational institution.  Inamdar has also held that to admit  students

     being an unfettered fundamental right, the State  cannot  make  fetters

     upto the  level  of  under  graduate  education.   Unaided  educational

     institutions enjoy  total  freedom  and  they  can  legitimately  claim

     ‘unfettered fundamental rights’ to choose students subject to its being

     fair, transparent and non-exploitative.

     110.       Section 12(1)(c) read with Section 2(n)(iv) of the Act never

     envisages any distinction between unaided  minority  schools  and  non-

     minority  schools.    Constitution   Benches   of   this   Court   have

     categorically held that so far as appropriation of quota by  the  State

     and enforcement of reservation policy is concerned, there is  not  much

     difference  between  unaided  minority  and  non-minority   educational

     institutions (Refer Paras 124, 125 of Inamdar).  Further, it  was  also

     held  that  both  unaided   minority   and   non-minority   educational

     institutions  enjoy  “total  freedom”   and   can   claim   “unfettered

     fundamental rights” in the matter of  appropriation  of  quota  by  the

     State and enforcement of reservation policy.  This Court also held that

     imposition  of  quota  or  enforcing  reservation   policy   are   acts

     constituting serious encroachment on the right  and  autonomy  of  such

     institutions both minority (religious and linguistic) and non- minority

     and cannot be held to be  a  regulatory  measure  in  the  interest  of

     minority  within  the  meaning  of  Article  30(1)  or   a   reasonable

     restriction within the meaning of Article 19(6)  of  the  Constitution.

     Therefore, no distinction or difference can be  drawn  between  unaided

     minority schools  and  unaided  non-minority  schools  with  regard  to

     appropriation of quota by the State or  its  reservation  policy  under

     Section 12(1)(c) of the Act.

     111.       I am of the view, going  by  the  ratio  laid  down  by  Pai

     Foundation and Inamdar, to compel the unaided non minority and minority

     private educational institutions, to admit 25% of the students  on  the

     fee structure determined by the State, is nothing but  an  invasion  as

     well as appropriation of the rights guaranteed to  them  under  Article

     19(1)(g) and Article 30(1) of  the  Constitution.   Legislature  cannot

     under the guise of interest of general public “arbitrarily cast  burden

     or responsibility on private citizens running a private school, totally

     unaided”.   Section  12(1)(c)  was  enacted  not  only  to  offload  or

     outsource the constitutional obligation of the  State  to  the  private

     unaided educational institutions, but also to burden them  with  duties

     which they do not constitutionally owe to children included in  Section

     2(d) or (e) of the Act or to their parents.

     112.        Pai Foundation, in paragraph 57 of the judgment has  stated

     that in as much as the occupation of education is, in a sense, regarded

     as charitable, the Government can provide regulations that will  ensure

     excellence in education, while forbidding the  charging  of  capitation

     fee and profiteering by the institution.  Further, it was also  pointed

     out that in the establishment of an educational institution, the object

     should not be to make profit,  inasmuch  as  education  is  essentially

     charitable in nature.  However,  there  can  be  a  reasonable  revenue

     surplus, which may be generated by the educational institutions for the

     purpose of development of education and their expansion.  Consequently,

     the mere fact that education in one sense, is regarded  as  charitable,

     the Government cannot appropriate 25%  of  the  seats  of  the  unaided

     private educational institutions on the ground that providing education

     is charity.  Pai Foundation and Inamdar after holding  that  occupation

     of education can be regarded as charitable held that the  appropriation

     of seats in an unaided private educational institution would amount  to

     nationalization of seats and an inroad into their autonomy.  The object

     and purpose of Section 12(1)(c), it may be  noted,  is  not  to  reduce

     commercialization.  Pai Foundation and Inamdar have  clearly  denounced

     commercialization of education.

     113.        Right to establish and administer and run a private unaided

     educational institution is the very openness of  personal  freedom  and

     opportunity which is constitutionally protected, which right cannot  be

     robbed or coerced against his will at the threat of non-recognition  or

     non-affiliation.  Right to  establish  a  private  unaided  educational

     institution and to make reasonable  profit  is  recognized  by  Article

     19(1)(g) so as  to achieve economic security and stability  even if  it

     is  for  charity.   Rights  protected  under   Article   19(1)(g)   are

     fundamental in nature, inherent and are sacred and valuable  rights  of

     citizens which can be abridged only to the extent that is necessary  to

     ensure public peace, health, morality etc. and to  the  extent  of  the

     constitutional limitation provided in that  Article.  Reimbursement  of

     fees at the Government rate is not an answer when the  unaided  private

     educational institutions have no constitutional  obligation  and  their

     Constitutional rights are invaded.

     114. Private unaided educational institutions are established with  lot

     of capital investment, maybe with loan  and  borrowings.   To  maintain

     high standard of education, well  qualified  and  experienced  teachers

     have to be appointed,  at  times  with  hefty  salary.   Well  equipped

     library, laboratory etc have  also  to  be  set  up.   In  other  words

     considerable money by way of capital investment and  overhead  expenses

     would go into for establishing and maintaining a good  quality  unaided

     educational institution.  Section 12(1)(c), in my view, would amount to

     appropriation of one’s labour and makes an inroad into the autonomy  of

     the institution.   Unaided educational institutions, over a  period  of

     time, might have established  their  own  reputation  and  goodwill,  a

     quantifiable asset.  Nobody can be allowed to rob  that  without  their

     permission, not even the State. Section 12(1)(c)  is not a  restriction

     which falls under Article 19(6) but cast a burden  on  private  unaided

     educational institutions to admit  and  teach  children  at  the  state

     dictate, on a fee structure determined by the State which, in my  view,

     would abridge and destroy the freedom guaranteed to them under  Article

     19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

     115.     Parliament can enact a social legislation to  give  effect  to

     the Directive Principles of the State Policy, but so far as the present

     case is concerned, neither the Directive Principles of the State Policy

     nor Article 21A cast any duty or  obligation  on  the  unaided  private

     educational institutions to provide free and  compulsory  education  to

     children of the age of 6 to 14.  Section 12(1)(c)  has,  therefore,  no

     foundation either on the Directive Principles of the  State  Policy  or

     Article 21A of the Constitution, so as to rope in  unaided  educational

     institutions.  Directive Principles of the  State  Policy  as  well  as

     Article 21A cast the constitutional obligation on the State  and  State

     alone.   State,  cannot  offload  or  outsource   that   Constitutional

     obligation to the private unaided educational institutions and the same

     can be done only by a constitutional provision and not by  an  ordinary


     116.      Articles 41, 45 and 46 of Part IV of  the  Constitution  cast

     the duty and constitutional obligations on the State under Article 21A,

     apart from other constitutional principles laid down by Pai  Foundation

     as well as Inamdar.  Section 12(1)(c)  has neither  the  constitutional

     support of Article 21A, nor the support of Articles 41, 45 or 46, since

     those provisions cast duty only on the  State  and  State  alone.   The

     policies laid down under Articles 41, 45 and 46 can always be  achieved

     by  carrying  out  necessary  amendment  to  the  fundamental   rights.

     However, so far as the present case is concerned, Article 21A has  been

     enacted to cast a constitutional obligation on the  state  and  a  duty

     upon the State under Articles 41, 45 and 46.  I have pointed  out  that

     it is to get over such situations and for the removal of such obstacles

     several  constitutional  amendments  were  necessitated  which  I  have

     extensively dealt with in Part II of my judgment.

     117.       Section 12(1)(c) seeks to achieve what  cannot  be  achieved

     directly especially after the interpretation placed by  Pai  Foundation

     and Inamdar on Article 19(1)(g) and Article 30(1) of the  Constitution.

     Inamdar has clearly held that right to set up, and administer a private

     unaided educational institution is an unfettered  right,  but  12(1)(c)

     impose fetters on that right which  is  constitutionally  impermissible

     going by the principles  laid  down  by  Pai  Foundation  and  Inamdar.

     Section 12(1)(c),  in my view, can be given  effect  to,  only  on  the

     basis of principles of voluntariness and consensus  laid  down  in  Pai

     Foudnation and Inamdar or else, it may violate the rights guaranteed to

     unaided minority and non-minority institutions.

     118.    Constitution of India has  expressly  conferred  the  power  of

     judicial review on  Courts  and  the  Legislature  cannot  disobey  the

     constitutional mandate or the constitutional  principle  laid  down  by

     Courts under the guise of social inclusiveness.   Smaller  inroad  like

     Section 12(1)(c) may lead to larger  inroad,  ultimately  resulting  in

     total prohibition of the rights  guaranteed  under  Articles  19(1)(g),

     29(2) and 30(1) as interpreted  by  the  Pai  Foundation  and  Inamdar.

     Court, in such situations, owe a duty to lift the veil of the form  and

     appearance to discover the true character and nature of the legislation

     and if it has the effect of bypassing or  ignoring  the  constitutional

     principles  laid  down  by  the  Constitutional  Courts   and   violate

     fundamental rights, the same has to be nullified.

     119.        Pai Foundation and Inamdar  have  not  laid  down  any  new

     constitutional  principle,  but  only  declared  what   the   law   is.

     Constitutional principles laid by courts get  assimilated  in  Articles

     19(1)(g), 29(2) and 30(1) and can be undone  not  by  legislation,  but

     only by constitutional amendments.  The object to be  achieved  by  the

     legislation may be laudable, but if it is secured  by  a  method  which

     offends fundamental rights and constitutional principles, the law  must

     be struck down as unconstitutional.   The constitutional provision like

     Article 19(1)(g) is a check on the exercise of legislative power and it

     is the duty of the constitutional court to protect  the  constitutional

     rights of the citizens against any encroachment, as it is  often  said,

     “smaller inroad may lead to larger inroad and ultimately resulting into

     nationalization or even total prohibition.” Section 12(1)(c), if upheld

     would resurrect  Unni  Krishnan  scheme  which  was  nullified  by  Pai

     Foundation and Inamdar.

     120.        I am, therefore,  of  the  view  that  so  far  as  unaided

     educational institutions both minority and non-minority  are  concerned

     the obligation cast under Section 12(1)(c) is only  directory  and  the

     said provision is accordingly read down holding that it is open to  the

     private  unaided  educational  institutions,  both  minority  and  non-

     minority, at their volition to admit children who belong to the  weaker

     sections  and  disadvantaged  group  in  the  neighbourhood  in   their

     educational institutions as well as in pre-schools.

      (B)   Aided Educational Institutions, minority and non-  minority:

     121.       Section 12(1)(b) deals with the  schools  receiving  aid  or

     grants to meet whole or part  of  its  expenses  from  the  appropriate

     government or local authority.  Those schools are bound to provide free

     and compulsory elementary education  to  such  proportion  of  children

     subject to a minimum of 25% depending upon its annual recurring aid  or

     grants so received.  Pai Foundation has  clearly  drawn  a  distinction

     between aided private  educational  institutions  and  unaided  private

     educational institutions both minority and  non-minority.   So  far  as

     private aided educational institutions, both minority and  non-minority

     are concerned, it has been clearly held in Pai Foundation that once aid

     is provided to those  institutions  by  the  Government  or  any  state

     agency, as a condition of grant or aid, they can  put  fetters  on  the

     freedom  in  the  matter  of  administration  and  management  of   the

     institution.  Aided institutions cannot obtain the extent  of  autonomy

     in relation to the management and administration as would be  available

     to a private unaided institution.  Pai Foundation  after  referring  to

     St. Stephen judgment and Articles 29 and 30 held that  even  if  it  is

     possible to fill up all the seats with minority group  the  moment  the

     institution is granted aid the institution will have to admit  students

     from non-minority group to a reasonable extent without annihilating the

     character of the institution.  In St. Stephen case which I have already

     dealt with in the earlier paragraphs of the judgment,  the  Court  held

     that the State may regulate  intake in  a  minority  aided  educational

     institution with due regard to the need of the community of  that  area

     where the institution is intending to serve.  However, it was  held  in

     no case such intake shall exceed 50% of the annual admission.  Minority

     aided educational institutions, it was held, shall  make  available  at

     least 50% of the annual admission to the  members  of  the  communities

     other than minority community. The  Court  also  held  by  admitting  a

     member of a non minority into a minority institution, it does not  shed

     its  character  and  cease  to  be  a  minority  institution  and  such

     “sprinkling of outsiders” would enable the  distinct  language,  script

     and culture of a minority to be propagated amongst  non  members  of  a

     particular community and  would  indeed  better  serve  the  object  of

     serving the language, religion and culture of that  minority.    I  may

     also add that Section 12(1)(b) equally safeguards  the  rights  of  the

     members of religious and  linguistic  minority  communities.    Section

     2(e) deals with the ‘child belonging to weaker section’ of the minority

     communities, religious or linguistic, who would also get the benefit of

     Section 12(1)(b) and, therefore, the contention that Section  12(1)(b),

     as such,  would  stand  against  the  interest  of  the  religious  and

     linguistic minority communities is unfounded.

     122.       Applying the principle laid down in Pai Foundation, Inamdar,

     St. Stephen and in Re.  Kerala Education Bill, I am of  the  view  that

     clause 12(1)(b) directing the aided educational  institutions  minority

     and non-minority to provide admission to the children of the age  group

     of 6 to14 years would not affect the autonomy or the rights  guaranteed

     under Article 19(1)(g) or Article 30(1) of the Constitution  of  India.

     I, therefore, reject the challenge  against  the  validity  of  Section

     12(1)(b) and hold that the provision is constitutionally valid.


     123.       Private  unaided  educational   institutions,   apart   from

     challenging Section 12(1)(c), have also raised various objections  with

     regard to  other  provisions  of  the  Act.   Learned  senior  counsels

     appearing for them submitted that Sections 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9  read  with

     Sections 4, 5 and 10 impose duties and obligations upon the appropriate

     government and local authority and those sections completely answer and

     fulfill the mandate contained in Article  21A  as  against  the  State.

     Section 3 recognizes the right of the  child  to  free  and  compulsory

     education in a neighbourhood school.  Unaided educational  institutions

     have only a negative duty of not interfering  with  the  right  of  the

     child and not to unreasonably interfere with the realization  of  those

     rights and there is no obligation to surrender their rights  guaranteed

     under Article 19(1)(g) and Article 30(1), recognized in Pai  Foundation

     and Inamdar. Children can, therefore, enforce their constitutional  and

     statutory rights against the educational institutions run by the State,

     local authority qua  aided  educational  institution  and  not  against

     unaided minority and non-minority educational institutions.  It  is  so


     124.       Petitioners have not raised any  objection  with  regard  to

     prohibition imposed under Section 13 against collecting the  capitation

     fee which they are bound to follow even on the declaration of  law,  by

     Pai Foundation and Inamdar.   Petitioners submitted  that  a  fair  and

     transparent screening procedure is being followed by all  the  schools.

     So far as Section 14 is  concerned,  petitioners  have  submitted  that

     schools always give opportunity to the  child/parent  to  produce  some

     authentic proof to  ascertain  the  age  of  the  child.   Petitioners,

     referring to Section 15, submitted that the child has to adhere to  the

     academic procedure laid down by the institutions and there will  be  no

     denial of admission to the children  subject  to  the  availability  of

     seats.    With  regard  to  Section  16,  it  was  contended  that  the

     prohibition against holding back any student in any class or  expelling

     any student regardless of how grave the  provocation  may  be,  imposes

     unreasonable and arbitrary restriction which would  completely  destroy

     the  unique  educational  system  followed  by  some  of  the   unaided

     educational institutions.

     125.      Shri Chander Uday Singh, senior  counsel  appearing  in  Writ

     Petition (Civil) No. 83 of 2011, submitted that they are following  the

     International  Baccalaureate  system  of   education;   the   syllabus,

     curriculum, method of instructions are  totally  different  from  other

     schools.  There are no day scholars, and all the students have to  stay

     in the Boarding and the school fees is also high.  Most of the students

     studying in the school are not from the neighbourhood but from all over

     the country and abroad.  School has  its  own  rules  and  regulations.

     Prohibition of holding back and expulsion of  students  in  an  unaided

     private  educational  institution  depends  upon   the   academic   and

     disciplinary procedure laid down by the school  and  its  parent  body.

     Counsel, referring to  Section  17  of  the  Act,  submitted  that  the

     prohibition of physical punishment and mental harassment is  a  welcome

     provision which the schools follow.

     126.       Learned senior counsel also submitted  that  some  of  their

     schools are not affiliated or recognized by any State  Education  Board

     or the Board constituted  by  the  Central  Government  or  the  Indian

     Council of Secondary Education etc. and those schools generally  follow

     the rules laid down by the recognizing body and are, therefore,  unable

     to fulfill the norms and standards specified in the  schedule  referred

     to in Section 19.

     127.  Counsel appearing for the unaided institutions contended that the

     curriculum and evaluation procedure laid down by the  body  affiliating

     or recognizing the institutions are being  followed  by  them  and  the

     provisions stipulated in Section 29(2) are generally being  adhered  to

     by their schools.  With regard to  Section  23  of  the  Act,  counsels

     submitted that some of the  unaided  private  educational  institutions

     employ the teachers from outside the country as  it  encourages  cross-

     fertilization of ideas and educational systems and  practices  and  the

     qualifications provided by the institutions may not  be  as  prescribed

     under Section 23 of the Act and the qualifications provided therein may

     not be sufficient for appointment as teachers in the schools affiliated

     to International Baccalaureate system.      Learned  counsel  appearing

     for the unaided private educational institutions also referred to Rules

     9, 11 to 15 and 23 and explained how  it  affects  their  autonomy  and

     status of their institutions.

     128.         I have extensively dealt with the  contentions  raised  by

     the unaided private educational institutions and I am of the view  that

     not only Section 12(1)(c), but rest of the provisions in  the  Act  are

     only directory so far as those institutions are concerned, but they are

     bound by the declaration of law by Pai  Foundation  and  Inamdar,  like

     there shall be no profiteering, no  maladministration,  no  demand  for

     capitation fee and so on and they have to follow the  general  laws  of

     the land like taxation, public  safety,  sanitation,  morality,  social

     welfare etc.

     129.        I may indicate that so far as the rest of the  schools  are

     concerned,  including  aided  minority  and  non-minority   educational

     institutions, they have necessarily to follow the various provisions in

     the Act since I have upheld the validity of  Section  12(1)(b)  of  the

     Act.  Certain objections have also been raised by them with  regard  to

     some of the provisions of the Act, especially  by  the  aided  minority

     community.   Contention was raised that Sections 21 and 22 of the  Act,

     read with Rule 3, cast an obligation on those schools to  constitute  a

     School Management Committee consisting of  elected  representatives  of

     the local authority which amounts to taking away the rights  guaranteed

     to the aided minority schools, under Article 30(1) of the Constitution.

       Learned Additional Solicitor General has made available a copy  of  a

     Bill, proposing amendment to Section 21,  adding  a  provision  stating

     that the School Management Committee constituted under sub-section  (1)

     of Section 21 in respect of a school established  and  administered  by

     minority whether based on religion or language, shall perform  advisory

     functions only.  The apprehension that the committee constituted  under

     Section 21(1) would replace the minority  educational  institution  is,

     therefore, unfounded. [Ref. F.No.1-22009-E.E-4 of Government  of  India

     (Annexure A-3)].

     130.     Petitioners  have   also   raised   objections   against   the

     restrictions  imposed  in  following  any  screening  procedure  before

     admitting children to their schools under Sections 13 or 14 of the Act,

     which according to the petitioners, takes  away  the  autonomy  of  the

     institutions.  Several representations were received by the Ministry of

     Human  Resources  and  Development,   Government   of   India   seeking

     clarification on that aspect and the  Ministry  issued  a  notification

     dated 23.11.2009 under Section 35(1) of the Act laying guidelines to be

     followed by both unaided and aided educational  institutions.   It  was

     pointed out that the object of the provisions  of  Section  13(1)  read

     with Section  2(d)  is  to  ensure  that  schools  adopt  an  admission

     procedure which is non-discriminatory, rational and transparent and the

     schools do not subject children and their parents  to  admission  tests

     and interviews so as to deny admission.  I find no infirmity in Section

     13, which has nexus with the object sought  to  be  achieved,  that  is

     access to education.

     131.        Contention was also raised by them  against  Section  14(2)

     which provides that no child shall be denied admission in a school  for

     lack of age proof which, according to them, will  cause  difficulty  to

     the  management  to  ascertain  the  age  of  the  child.   Section  14

     stipulates that the age of a child shall be determined on the basis  of

     the birth certificate issued in accordance with the provisions  of  the

     Birth, Death and Marriages Registration Act, 1986, or the other related

     documents.  The object and purpose of Section 14  is  that  the  school

     shall not deny access to education due to lack of age proof.  I find no

     legal infirmity in that provision, considering the overall purpose  and

     object of the Act.   Section 15 states that a child shall not be denied

     admission even if the child is  seeking  admission  subsequent  to  the

     extended period.  A child who evinces an interest in pursuing education

     shall never be discouraged, so that the purpose envisaged under the Act

     could be achieved.  I find no legal infirmity in that provision.

     132.   Challenge was also made to Section 16 of the Act stating that it

     will lead to indiscipline and  also  deteriorate  the  quality  of  the

     education, which I find difficult to agree with looking to  the  object

     and purpose of the Act.   Holding back in a class or expulsion may lead

     to large number of drop outs from the school,  which  will  defeat  the

     very purpose and object of the Act, which is to strengthen  the  social

     fabric of democracy and to create a just and humane society.  Provision

     has been incorporated in the Act to provide for special tuition for the

     children who are found to be deficient in their studies,  the  idea  is

     that  failing  a  child  is  an  unjust  mortification  of  the   child

     personality, too young to face the failure in life in his or her  early

     stages of education.  Duty is cast on everyone to support the child and

     the child’s failure is often not due the  child’s  fault,  but  several

     other factors.  No legal infirmity is found in  that  provision,  hence

     the challenge against Section 16 is rejected.

     133.        Petitioners have not raised any objection  with  regard  to

     Section 17, in my view, rightly.  Sections 18 and  19  insist  that  no

     school  shall  be  established   without   obtaining   certificate   of

     recognition under the Act and that the norms and standards specified in

     the  schedule  be  fulfilled,  if  not  already  fulfilled,  within   a

     stipulated time.  There is nothing objectionable  in  those  provisions

     warranting our interference.  Section 23, in my view,  would  not  take

     away the freedom of aided minority  educational  institutions  for  the

     reasons already stated by us.  No infirmity is also found  with  regard

     to Sections 24 to 28 of the Act since the object and purpose  of  those

     provisions are to provide education of satisfactory quality so that the

     ultimate object of the Act would be achieved.

     134.       Learned counsel  also  submitted  that  some  of  the  aided

     minority and non-minority educational institutions  are  following  the

     curriculum as laid down by independent recognized Boards such as  CBSE,

     ICSE etc. and they are competent bodies for laying down such procedures

     and in case those schools are compelled to follow  the  curriculum  and

     evaluation procedure laid down in Section 29, the schools would be  put

     to considerable inconvenience  and  difficulties  and  may  affect  the

     quality of education.

     135.       I am of the  view  that  requiring  the  minority  and  non-

     minority institutions to follow the National Curriculum Framework or  a

     Curriculum Framework made by the State, would not  abrogate  the  right

     under  Article  19(1)(g)  or  Article  30(1)   of   the   Constitution.

     Requirement that the  curriculum  adopted  by  a  minority  institution

     should comply with certain basic norms is in consonance with the values

     enshrined in the Constitution and cannot be considered to be  violative

     of the rights guaranteed to them under  Article  30(1).   Further,  the

     curriculum framework contemplated by Section 29(1) does not subvert the

     freedom of an institution to choose the nature  of  education  that  it

     imparts, as well as the affiliation with the CBSE or other  educational

     boards.  Over and above, what has been prescribed by those  affiliating

     or recognizing bodies is that these schools have  also  to  follow  the

     curriculum framework contemplated by Section 29(1) so as to achieve the

     object and purpose of the Act.  I, therefore, find no infirmity in  the

     curriculum or evaluation procedure laid down in Section 29 of the  Act.

     136.       Section 30 of the Act which provides that no child shall  be

     required  to  pass  any  Board  examination  till  the  completion   of

     elementary education and that on completion  of  elementary  education,

     the child shall be  awarded  a  certificate.   Education  is  free  and

     compulsory for the children of the age 6 to 14 years and the object and

     purpose is to see that children should complete  elementary  education.

     If they are subjected to any Board Examination  and  to  any  screening

     procedure, then the desired object would not be achieved.    The object

     and purpose of Section 30 is to see that a child shall not be held back

     in any class so that the child would complete his elementary education.

      The Legislature noticed that there are a large number of children from

     the disadvantaged groups and  weaker  sections  who  drop  out  of  the

     schools before completing the elementary  education,  if  promotion  to

     higher class is subject to screening.  Past experience shows that  many

     of such children  have  dropped  out  of  the  schools  and  are  being

     exploited  physically  and  mentally.  Universal  Elementary  Education

     eluded those children due to various reasons and it is in order to curb

     all those maladies that the Act has provided for  free  and  compulsory

     education.  I, therefore, find no merit in the challenge against  those

     provisions  which  are  enacted  to  achieve  the  goal  of   universal

     elementary  education  for  strengthening  the  social  fabric  of  the


     137.         Counsel  appearing  for  some  of   the   aided   minority

     institutions raised a doubt as to whether the Act has got any impact on

     the Freedom of Religion and  Conscience  guaranteed  under  Article  25

     insofar as it applies to institutions run by a religious  denomination.

     It was clarified by the Union of India that  the  Act  would  apply  to

     institutions run by religious denominations  in  case  the  institution

     predominantly  offers  primary  education  either  exclusively  or   in

     addition to religious instruction.  It was pointed out that  where  the

     institution  predominantly   provides   religious   instructions   like

     Madrasas, Vedic Pathshalas etc.  and  do  not  provide  formal  secular

     education, they are exempted from the applicability of  the  Act.   The

     Act, therefore, does not interfere with the protection guaranteed under

     Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution and the provisions in the Act in

     no way prevent the giving of religious education to students  who  wish

     to take religious education in addition to primary education.   Article

     25 makes it clear that the State reserves  the  right  to  regulate  or

     restrict any economic, financial, political or other secular activities

     which are associated with religious practice and also states  that  the

     State can legislate for social welfare and reform, even though by doing

     so it would interfere with the religious practices.  Madrasas and Vedic

     Pathshalas,  as  I  have  already  indicated,   predominantly   provide

     religious instruction and do not provide formal secular education  and,

     hence, they are exempted from the applicability of the Act. The Central

     Government has now issued Guidelines  dated  23.11.2010  under  Section

     35(1) of the Act clarifying the above position.   The operative part of

     the guidelines reads as under:

               “3.       Institutions,   including   Madrasas   and   Vedic

           Pathshalas,  especially   serving   religious   and   linguistic

           minorities are  protected  under  Articles  29  and  30  of  the

           Constitution.   The  RTE  Act  does  not  come  in  the  way  of

           continuance of such institutions, or the rights of  children  in

           such institutions.”

     Madrasas, Vedic Pathshalas and similar institutions  serving  religious

     and linguistic minorities  as  such  are,  therefore,  protected  under

     Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution from the rigour of the Act.

     138.   The Act  has  now  brought  in  the  concept  of  public-private

     partnership for achieving the goal of Universal  Elementary  Education.

     It also stresses upon the importance of preparing and strengthening the

     schools to address all kinds of diversities arising  from  inequalities

     of gender, caste, language, culture, religious or  other  disabilities.

     The concept of neighbourhood schools has also been incorporated for the

     first time through a  legislation  and  the  right  of  access  of  the

     children to elementary education of satisfactory and equitable  quality

     has  also  been  ensured.   The  duties  and  responsibilities  of  the

     appropriate  government,  local  authorities,  parents,   schools   and

     teachers in providing free  and  compulsory  education,  a  system  for

     protection of the right  of  children  and  a  decentralized  grievance

     mechanism has been provided by the Legislature.   Obligation  has  also

     been  cast  on  the  State  and  the  local  authority   to   establish

     neighbourhood  schools  within  a  period  of  three  years  from   the

     commencement of the Act  and  the  Central  Government  and  the  State

     Governments have concurrent responsibilities for  providing  funds  for

     carrying out  all  the  provisions  of  the  Act  and  the  duties  and

     responsibilities cast on the local authorities as  well.   A  provision

     has also been made in the Act for  pre-school  education  for  children

     above the age of three years.  The  purpose  is  to  prepare  them  for

     elementary education and to provide early childhood care and  education

     for all children until they complete the  age  of  six  years  and  the

     appropriate government has to take necessary steps for  providing  free

     pre-school education for such children.  Further, the Act also  cast  a

     duty on every parent or guardian to admit or cause to be  admitted  his

     or her child or ward, as the case may be, for an  elementary  education

     in the neighbourhood school, which is in conformity with Article 51A(k)

     of the Constitution.

       139.        The  State  has  played  a  dominant  role  in  providing

     educational services through the Government schools, largely managed by

     State Governments and  local  bodies,  as  well  as  through  privately

     managed but publicly funded schools  called  government-aided  schools.

     These aided  schools  are  operated  by  charitable  trusts,  voluntary

     organizations, and religious bodies  but  receive  substantial  funding

     from the government. According to the Indian Human  Development  Survey

     (IHDS), 2005 about 67% of students attend government schools, about  5%

     attend  government-aided  schools,  and  24%  attend  private  schools.

     Convents and Madrasas account for about 1-2%.  The survey conducted  by

     IHDS indicates that in 2005  about  21%  of  rural  and  51%  of  urban

     children were enrolled in private schools.  Part of  this  increase  in

     private school enrolment has come about through a decline in  enrolment

     in government-aided schools.  In 1994, nearly  22%  of  rural  children

     were enrolled in government-aided schools.  By 2005, this declined to a

     bare 7% in rural areas and 5% in urban areas.  At an all  India  level,

     72% of children are enrolled in government schools, and about  28%  are

     in private schools.   The survey further indicates  that  the  children

     between 6-14 years  old,  about  40%  participated  in  private  sector

     education either through enrolment in  private  school  (20%),  through

     private tuition (13%),  or  both  (7%).   The  growing  preference  for

     private schooling and the reliance on private tutoring, has to be  seen

     in the context of differences in admission of  children  in  government

     and private schools.  The quality of education in  government  schools,

     due to various reasons, has gone down considerably.  The  Act  is  also

     envisaged on the  belief  that  the  schools  run  by  the  appropriate

     government, local authorities, aided and  unaided,  minority  and  non-

     minority, would provide satisfactory quality education to the children,

     especially children from disadvantaged and weaker sections.

     140.       Private aided educational institutions, though  run  on  aid

     and grant provided by the State, generally the payment to such  schools

     is not performance oriented.  The State Governments provide 100% salary

     to the teachers on its roll on monthly basis and some State Governments

     would provide 90%.   Generally, the State Governments  do  not  provide

     capital cost either for construction or for repair and  whenever  these

     schools are aided, the school fee is regulated and is  generally  equal

     to the fee prevailing in the government schools.    The recruitment  of

     teaches by these schools is also subject to the  Government  regulation

     like inclusion of a representative of the Government in  the  selection

     committee, or the appointment being subject  to  the  approval  of  the


     141.       Currently, all taxes in India are subject to  the  education

     cess, which  is  3%  of  the  total  tax  payable.   With  effect  from

     assessment year 2009-10, Secondary and Higher Secondary Education  Cess

     of 1% is applicable on the subtotal of taxable income.  The proceeds of

     the cess are directed to a separate non lapsable fund called Prarambhik

     Shiksha Kosh (PSK), setup by Government of India, to exclusively  cater

     to the elementary education in India. This fund is under the control of

     the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MoHRD) and is typically

     utilized for its flagship programmes – Sarva Sikksha Abhiyaan (SSA) and

     the Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS).

     142.        The statistics would indicate that  out  of  the  12,50,775

     schools imparting elementary education in the country in 2007-08, 80.2%

     were all types of government schools, 5.8 % private aided  schools  and

     13.1% private unaided schools. Almost 87.2% of the schools are  located

     in the rural areas. In  the  rural  areas  the  proportion  of  private

     unaided schools is only  9.3%  and  that  of  aided  schools  is  4.7%.

     However, in the urban areas, the  percentage  of  private  unaided  and

     aided schools are as high as 38.6% and 13.4% respectively.

     143.      Out of the total students enrolled in primary classes in 2007-

     08 about 75.4, 6.7 and 17.8% are  enrolled  in  government,  aided  and

     unaided schools. The total number of teachers working in these  schools

     in 2007-08 was 56,34,589 of which 69.3, 10.4 and 20.7% are teaching  in

     government, aided and private schools, the average number  of  teachers

     per school being 3.9, 8.3 and 6.7% respectively.   The statistics would

     indicate that the Government schools have  the  highest  percentage  of

     teachers who are professionally trained at  43.4%,  followed  by  aided

     school (27.8%) and unaided private schools (only 2.3%).   However,  the

     learning  achievements  are  higher  in  private  schools  compared  to

     Government schools.   Going through the objects and reasons of the Act,

     the private unaided educational institutions are roped in  not  due  to

     lack of sufficient number of schools run by the appropriate Government,

     local authorities or aided educational institutions, but  basically  on

     the principle of social inclusiveness so  as  to  provide  satisfactory

     quality  education.   Some  of  the  unaided  educational  institutions

     provide superior quality  education,  a  fact  conceded  and  it  is  a

     constitutional  obligation  of  the   appropriate   Government,   local

     authority and aided schools not only to  provide  free  and  compulsory

     education, but also quality education.

     144.      Positive steps should be taken by the State  Governments  and

     the Central Government to supervise and monitor how the  schools  which

     are  functioning  and  providing  quality  education  to  the  children

     function.  Responsibility is much more on the  State,  especially  when

     the Statute is  against  holding  back  or  detaining  any  child  from

     standard I to VIII.

     145.      Mr. Murray N. Rothbard, an eminent educationist and Professor

     in Economics, in his  Book  “Education:  Free  and  Compulsory”  [1999,

     Ludurg von Mises Institute, Auburn, Aliana] cautioned that  progressive

     education may destroy the independent thought in the child and a  child

     has little chance to develop his systematic  reasoning  powers  in  the

     study of definite courses. The Book was written  after  evaluating  the

     experiences  of  various  countries,  which  have  followed  free   and

     compulsory education for children for several years.    Prohibition  of

     holding back in a class may,  according  to  the  author,  result  that

     bright pupils are robbed of incentive or opportunity to study  and  the

     dull ones are encouraged to  believe  that  success,  in  the  form  of

     grades, promotion etc., will come to  them  automatically.  The  author

     also questioned that since the State began to  control  education,  its

     evident tendency has been more and more to act in such a manner  so  as

     to promote repression and hindrance of education, rather than the  true

     development of the individual.   Its tendency has been for  compulsion,

     for enforced equality at the lowest level, for the watering down of the

     subject and even the  abandonment  of  all  formal  teaching,  for  the

     inculcation of obedience to the State and to the "group,"  rather  than

     the  development  of  self-independence,   for   the   deprecation   of

     intellectual subjects.

     146.        I am of  the  view  that  the  opinions  expressed  by  the

     academicians like Rothbard command respect and cannot be brushed  aside

     as such  because,  much  more  than  anything,  the  State  has  got  a

     constitutional responsibility  to  see  that  our  children  are  given

     quality education.   Provisions of the statute shall not remain a  dead

     letter, remember we are dealing with  the  lives  of  our  children,  a

     national asset, and the future of the entire country depends upon their

     upbringing.  Our children in the future  have  to  compete  with  their

     counter-parts elsewhere in the world at each and every level,  both  in

     curricular and extra-curricular fields.  Quality education and  overall

     development of the child is of prime importance upon which  the  entire

     future of our children and the country rests.

     147.         The  legislation,  in  its  present  form,  has  got  many

     drawbacks.    During  the  course  of  discussion,  the  necessity   of

     constituting a proper Regulatory Body was also raised so  that  it  can

     effectively supervise and monitor the functioning of these schools  and

     also examine whether the children are being provided with not only free

     and  compulsory  education,  but  quality  education.   The  Regulatory

     authority can also plug  the  loopholes,  take  proper  and  steps  for

     effective implementation of the Act and can also redress the grievances

     of the children.

     148.      Learned Attorney General for India has favoured  the  setting

     up of an Adjudicatory/Regulatory Authority to  determine  the  question

     whether compliance with Section 12(1)(b) and Section 12(1)(c) will have

     an adverse impact on the financial viability of the school, and if  so,

     to suggest remedies  and  to  deal  with  issues  like  expulsion  etc.

     Learned  Attorney  General  indicated  the  necessity  of  a  statutory

     amendment if the Regulatory/Adjudicatory body has to be  set  up  under

     the Act.  Proper adjudication mechanism may also pave  the  way  for  a

     successful and effective  public-private  partnership  for  setting  up

     educational institutions of best quality so that our children will  get

     quality education.  I am sure that the  Government  will  give  serious

     attention to the  above  aspect  of  the  matter  which  are  of  prime

     importance since we are dealing with the future of the children of this





       1. Article 21A casts an obligation on the State to provide free  and

          compulsory education to children of the age of 6 to 14 years  and

          not   on   unaided   non-minority   and   minority    educational


       2. Rights of children to free and  compulsory  education  guaranteed

          under Article 21A and RTE Act can be enforced against the schools

          defined under Section 2(n) of the Act,  except  unaided  minority

          and non-minority schools not receiving any kind of aid or  grants

          to meet their expenses from the appropriate governments or  local


       3. Section 12(1)(c) is read down so far as unaided non-minority  and

          minority educational institutions are concerned, holding that  it

          can be given effect to only on the principles  of  voluntariness,

          autonomy and consensus and  not on compulsion or threat  of  non-

          recognition or non-affiliation.

       4. No  distinction  or  difference  can  be  drawn  between  unaided

          minority and non-minority schools with regard to appropriation of

          quota by the  State  or  its  reservation  policy  under  Section

          12(1)(c) of the Act.  Such an appropriation of seats can also not

          be held to be  a  regulatory  measure  in  the  interest  of  the

          minority within the meaning of  Article  30(1)  or  a  reasonable

          restriction  within  the  meaning  of  Article   19(6)   of   the


       5. The Appropriate Government and local authority have to  establish

          neighbourhood schools as provided in Section 6 read with Sections

          8 and 9, within the time limit prescribed in the Statute.

       6.  Duty imposed  on  parents  or  guardians  under  Section  10  is

          directory in nature and  it  is  open  to  them  to  admit  their

          children in the schools of their choice, not  invariably  in  the

          neighbourhood schools,  subject  to  availability  of  seats  and

          meeting their own expenses.

       7.  Sections 4, 10, 14, 15 and 16 are held to be directory in  their

          content  and  application.   The  concerned   authorities   shall

          exercise such powers in consonance with the directions/guidelines

          laid down by the Central Government in that behalf.

       8.  The provisions of Section 21 of the Act, as provided, would  not

          be applicable to the schools covered under  sub-Section  (iv)  of

          clause (n) of Section 2.  They shall also not  be  applicable  to

          minority institutions, whether aided or unaided.

       9.  In  exercise  of  the  powers  conferred  upon  the  appropriate

          Government under Section 38 of the RTE Act, the Government  shall

          frame rules for carrying out the purposes  of  this  Act  and  in

          particular, the matters stated under sub-Section (2)  of  Section

          38 of the RTE Act.

      10.  The directions, guidelines and rules  shall  be  framed  by  the

          Central Government,  appropriate  Government  and/or  such  other

          competent authority under the  provisions  of  the  RTE  Act,  as

          expeditiously as possible and, in any case, not  later  than  six

          months from the date of pronouncement of this judgment.

      11.  All the State Governments which have not constituted  the  State

          Advisory Council in terms of Section 34 of the RTE Act  shall  so

          constitute the Council  within  three  months  from  today.   The

          Council so constituted shall undertake its requisite functions in

          accordance with the provisions of  Section  34  of  the  Act  and

          advise the Government in terms of clauses (6),  (7)  and  (8)  of

          this order immediately thereafter.

      12.  Central Government and State Governments may  set  up  a  proper

          Regulatory Authority for supervision and effective functioning of

          the Act and its implementation.

      13.  Madrasas, Vedic  Pathshalas  etc.  which  predominantly  provide

          religious instructions and do not provide for  secular  education

          stand outside the purview of the Act.

     149.      The Writ Petitions are disposed of as above.   This Judgment

    would have prospective operation and would apply from the next academic

    year 2012-13 onwards.  However, admissions already granted would not be

    disturbed.    We  record  our  deep  appreciation  for   the   valuable

    assistance rendered by the counsel appearing for the both sides.

                             (K. S. RADHAKRISHNAN)  …………………………………J.

    New Delhi;

    April 12, 2012