Mumbai: The Bombay high court recently held that the Right to Education (RTE) is not applicable to minority institutions. Making a detailed analysis of the two legislations, the HC held that the rights of minority educational institutions were safeguarded by the constitution. The court superseded the right to education act and said that a minority institution could not be forced to admit a student. The order could impact adversely upon students and parents as most education institutes in Mumbai have either religious or linguistic minority status.
The HC, however, held the state responsible for the admission of the student and directed it to admit the student in a school near her house. The order was issued while hearing a petition wherein a girl was denied readmission to a minority school after remaining absent for seven months.
A division bench was hearing a writ petition filed by Dr Vikas Motewar challenging the refusal of Lokhandwala Foundation School at Kandivali from re-admitting his daughter to the school after she remained absent for seven months. The petition sought directions to the state to ensure that the school re-admitted his daughter by enforcing the clauses of the RTE Act that stipulated that once admitted, a student could not be failed or removed till the students elementary education was completed.
According to the petition, Dr Motewar’s daughter was admitted to the school in nursery and was studying there till class V when due to familial problems he moved to Nanded for seven months during which his daughter did not attend school as a result of which she was removed. Though after approaching the education officer his daughter was allowed to appear for the exam she was denied promotion to class VI. The school held that she could be re-admitted to class V and not VI. The petition alleged that the school did not heed re-admission orders of the education officer or that of the District Child Protection officer and the state did not enforce the clauses of RTE Act, hence he approached the court.
The school said that it was not bound by the clauses of the RTE as they were a minority institution. After hearing both sides and referring to previous orders in similar cases, the HC said that minority institutions had the freedom to establish and administer the school and the state could only ensure that they maintained standards.
The state could not interfere in the administration and hence could not force the school to re-admit the student. The HC while holding that fundamental right of the school could not be subsome said that under directive principles the state was obliged to admit the student in a neighbourhood school. The HC rejected the reliefs sought by the petitioner Dr Motewar.