RIGHT TO EDUCATION A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT (ARTICLE 21 A)
The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act,2002 has added a new Article 21 A after Article 21 and has made education for all children of the age of 6 to 14 years a Fundamental Right. It provides that “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all the children of the age of 6 to 14 years in such manner as the state may, by law determine”. It is well known fact that the education is basic human right. For the success of democratic system of government, education is one of the basic elements. An educated citizen has to choose the representatives who form the government. Education gives the person the essence of Human dignity that develops him as well as contributes to the development of the country. The framer of the constitution realising the importance of the education have imposed the duty under Article 45 as one of the Directive Principle of the State Policy to provide free and compulsory education to all children until they complete the age of 14 years within 10 years from the commencement of the constitution. The object was to abolish the illiteracy from the country. It was expected that the elected governments of the country would honestly implement the directives. But it is unfortunate that since the lapse of 71 years from the independence they did not take any concrete steps to implement these directives and 35% of the population of the country is still illiterate. The framers perhaps were of the view that in the view of the financial conditions of new state it was not feasible to make it as a fundamental right under Part III of the constitution. Article 21 A may be read with new substituted Article 45 and new clause (k) inserted in Article 51 A of the constitution (86th Amendment Act 2002). While the substituted Article 45 obligates the State “To endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all Children until they complete the age of 14 years, clause (k) inserted in Article 51 A imposes a fundamental duty on parents/guardian “to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be ward, between the age of six and fourteen years”. To ensure the proper implementations of the provision of the 86th Amendment Act 2002 in terms of not just the funds spent but the content of the implementations, Dr. M. M. Joshi, the then Human Resource Development Minister, said that the monitoring system would be put in a place. It is hoped that the measure adopted would herald the Nation’s march to cent per cent literacy.
Justice Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, emphasized on the right to education in the following words;
Today Education is the most important function of the state and local governments…. It is required in the performance of our most basic responsibility, even services in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today, it is the principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values in preparing him for later professional training and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.
In Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka , the matter was raised by the petitioner that the right to education is a Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the constitution of India which cannot be denied to a citizen by charging high fees known as the capitation fees.
Stating that “Right to education” is outcome of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court in Bharitiya Seva Samaj Trust Tr, Press. V YogeshBhai Ambalal Patel observed that “Without education, a citizen may never come to know of his other rights….. Democracy depends for its very life on a high standard of general, vocational and professional education
“EDUCATION is the special mainstream of man.
EDUCATION is the treasure which can be preserved without the fear of the loss
EDUCATION secures material pleasure, happiness and fame.
EDUCATION is GOD in carnate.
EDUCATION secures the honour of the hands of the State, not money.
India is home to 19% of the world’s children that means India has the world’s largest number of youngsters as well as youth which is largely beneficial, especially as compared to countries like China, which has an ageing population. It is curse to say that, India also has one-third of the world’s illiterate population. It’s not as though literacy levels have not increased, but rather that the rate of the increase is rapidly slowing. India is a country were more than 3 million children are living on the streets, more than 150 million children are bonded labourers, one sixth of girl child does not live to see her 15th birthday and only 50% of children have access to education. Hence, there is always a scope for a need for amendments which makes the Right to Education Act as a “Sunshine Act”.
To combat this worrisome trend, the Indian government proposed the Right of children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 making education a fundamental right so that every child in the age group of 6 to 14 can have the basic education.
“The child is a soul with a being, a nature and capacities of its own, who must be helped so find them, to grow into their maturity, into a fullness of physical and vital energy and the utmost breadth, depth and height of its emotional, intellectual and spiritual being; otherwise there cannot be a healthy growth of the nation”.- Justice P.N Bhagwati