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Supreme court refuses plea for including madrasas, Vedic schools under RTE:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.



The Supreme Court has refused to intervene in a petition challenging sections of the Right to Education Act of 2009 which exclude vedic pathsalas , madrasas and institutions imparting religious education from its ambit.

  • The Court observed that the exclusion of these institutions was specifically inserted into the 2009 Act by an amendment of August 2012 and since then there has never been any controversy in the past decade.


What’s the issue?

The petitioner said, Right of a child should not be restricted only to free education, but must be extended to have equal quality education without discrimination on the ground of child’s social economic and cultural background. Therefore, the court may declare Sections 1(4) and 1(5) of the 2009 Act arbitrary and irrational.


Sections 1(4) and 1(5) of the 2009 Act:

Section 1(5) of the Act states, “Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to madrasas, Vedic pathshalas and educational institutions primarily imparting religious instruction”.

Section 1(4) says, “Subject to the provisions of Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution, the provisions of this Act shall apply to conferment of rights on children to free and compulsory education.

  • Article 29 and 30 contain provisions securing rights of minorities and minority-run institutions.


Constitutional Provisions regarding Minority Educational Institutions:

Article 30(1) recognizes linguistic and religious minorities but not those based on race, ethnicity.

  • It recognizes the right of religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, in effect recognizing the role educational institutions play in preserving distinct culture.
  • A majority community can also establish and administer educational institutions but they will not enjoy special rights under Article 30(1)(a).


Special rights enjoyed by religious minority institutions are:

  1. Under Art 30(1)(a), MEI enjoy right to education as a Fundamental Right. In case the property is taken over by state, due compensation to be provided to establish institutions elsewhere
  2. Under Article 15(5), MEIs are not considered for reservation
  3. Under Right to Education Act, MEI not required to provide admission to children in the age group of 6-14 years upto 25% of enrolment reserved for economically backward section of society
  4. In St Stephens vs Delhi University case, 1992, SC ruled that MEIs can have 50% seats reserved for minorities
  5. In TMA Pai & others vs State of Karnataka & others 2002 case, SC ruled that MEIs can have separate admission process which is fair, transparent and merit based. They can also separate fee structure but should not charge capitation fee.


Insta Curious:

Did you know that all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice? Reference: read this.



Prelims Link:

  1. NCPCR- composition and functions.
  2. Powers of NCPCR under RTE Act.
  3. Highlights of RTE Act.
  4. Children covered under RTE.
  5. Various rights available for MEIs.
  6. Rights of Minority vs other institutions.
  7. Can states interfere in their internal matters?

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of RTE act.

Sources: the Hindu.