Financial constraint is not an answer for the constitutional duty-Right to Education Article 21A
Post Written by : Shivam Kumar Gupta
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”– Franklin D. Roosevelt
Education is the most important thing for the complete development of the society and in that regard, The Constitution of India (Article 21 A and Article 45) and the Right to Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009, have came with the objective for free and compulsory education to all Children within age group of 6 to 14. After the National Policy of Education (NPE), announced in 1986, this work of providing the education to all children got the speed in motion of work. As the Article 21 A of the Constitution which read as “ The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all the children of age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine” came by the 83rd Amendment 1997 by getting inserted in the Constitution as Article 21 A.
Providing the education is the State obligation as in the case – “Right to education till children complete the age of 14 years being a fundamental right, the aided private Middle Schools and Senior Secondary Schools are concerned, the State Government is again under an obligation to provide education to children studying in these schools who are fourteen years of age or less. The net result is that even in High Schools and Senior Secondary Schools, upto 8th/9th class- the students being 14 or below – the State Government is bound to provide free educational and bound to meet total expenditure of the school to that extent. Financial constraint is not an answer for the constitutional duty.” In State of H.P. v. H.P. State Recognized and Aided Schools Managing Committee, (1995) 4 SCC 507: JT (1995) 8 SC 406
And it has been told further in Maria Grace Rural Middle School v. Government of T.N. (2006), wherein it was held that the right to receive grant-in-aid for the establishment and administration of schools is not a right.
And if the increase of tax is even done by the State, that will not defeat the constitutional objective of free and compulsory education. “Increase of tax for educational institutions vehicles by multiples does not defeat the constitutional objection of free and compulsory education under Article 21-A of the constitution. Merely because institution are imparting education, does not mean that they are not liable to pay vehicle tax towards cost and maintenance of roads” (Association of Management of Nursery, Primary & Matriculation Schools v. Govt. of Tamil Nadu, AIR 2007 Mad 92).