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Right to Education Act to be amended

Press Trust Of India  |  New Delhi 

The government is likely to amend the Right to Education Act in the winter session of Parliament to exempt the minority institutions from implementing admission quota and give them right to form governing body of their choice.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which was passed in the last session of Parliament, is likely to be amended in the coming session, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said.

According to the existing Act, the management committee should comprise elected representatives of the local authority, parents or guardians of children, and teachers.

“Provisions regarding the management committee under the Act are inconsistent with the Article 30 of the Constitution. So, I said this should be amended,” Sibal said.

Article 30 provides the minorities with the right to establish and administrate educational institutions freely.

Along with the Article 30, the guidelines by National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), a body to protect and preserve educational rights of the minority community, also maintains that the majority members in the managing body of these institutions should be from minority community otherwise the institute will lose its minority character, J C Kurian, a Commission member said.

“We will put the minority clause in the Act (to exempt them from quota). But I have told the minority institutions to discharge their responsibility in helping to provide education to poor children. They said they have no objection to it,” he said.

“Explaining the concept of administration in minority institutions, the Supreme Court in the case of T M A Pai verses state of Karnataka in 1996 has said that the minority institutions will have right to appoint teachers and form the managing committee of their choice. But current RTE provision on formation of managing committee is in contravention to it,” Kurrian said.

The amendment will also take care of the current RTE provision of 25 per cent reservation for children of poor and weaker sections, which contravenes the Article 15 (5) of the Constitution exempting the minority institutions from policy of reservation in admission. These minority institutions have also been exempted from OBC reservation in view of their special status. "The Supreme Court in the case of P A Inamdar verses the state of Maharashtra in 2005 has said that the states cannot regulate or control the admission in minority educational institutions," she said. The amendment will also address the concerns raised by a few social activists who said that certain category of physical challenged students are not covered by the Act, the minister added.

First Published: Fri, October 02 2009. 00:56 IST