Please note that this is a developing story. Last updated on 11:00 hrs / 01.03.2023
THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION
What does it mean?
Rights are simply the claims of the individual against the state/society. Rights create entitlements which are not conditional for a free citizen. The Right to Education casts an obligation upon the state/society to ensure that all individual subjects are given an adequate opportunity to educate themselves. Here an adequate opportunity does not merely imply an absence of restriction on choice , rather the removal of systemic disabilities (such as class and caste) having an effect on the free exercise of choice.
Do Indian citizens have the Right to Education?
The Supreme Court of India through its liberal interpretation of Article 21, brought education within the fold of Fundamental Rights way back in 1992-93 in the case of Mohini Jain v. Union of India and Unni Krishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh. Later, in 2002, the Parliament added an explicit Right to Education through insertion of Article 21-A vide The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002.
The fresh Article 21A read as: 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.
Consequently, the Parliament enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act in 2009 to give effect to the right under Art 21-A.
The Peculiar Case of Jammu And Kashmir
While the Right to Education Act was extended to all states of India, its applicability to the erstwhile state of Jammu And Kashmir was not complete due to pending ratification by the Legislative Assembly of Jammu And Kashmir as mandated by the provisions of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
What is our Campaign About?
After the nullification of Art 370, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 was enacted. Section 95 of the Act automatically extended the Central Laws in Schedule I of the Act to the successor UTs of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. Through the Act, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2019 ( mentioned in Entry 93 ) became operative in Successor UTs.
Here it is worth mentioning that, while the law became operative in the Union Territory, it went no far than the statute books because of pending implementation (notification of Act Rules) by the Government of Jammu And Kashmir.
The Timeline of our Campaign can be found below:
High Court Order ( March 01, 2023)
The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh directed the government to "positively" file a status report indicating the steps undertaken for the implementation of the Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 with particular reference to aided and unaided schools.
High Court Order ( September 8, 2022)
Petition Before the Hon'ble Court ( June 22, 2022)
Aggrieved by the state of affairs, Young Lawyers Forum filed a Public Interest Litigation Before the Hon'ble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh seeking directions to operationalize the Act.
Representations to the Government (April 5, 2022)
We approached the administration through Representations to the Chief Secretary, UT of J&K and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) seeking executive action on the matter.
Through numerous RTI petitions to the authorities concerned, and media enquiries we came to know that the Right to Education Act, 2009 was effectively inoperative in the UT in the absence any rules to regulate the implementation of the Act.
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