The scope of Article-21A: Right to Education in the Constitution of India is the longest written constitution of the world, containing 395 Articles, XXII Parts, and 12 schedules, it is also one of the best-written constitutions. The main purpose of the constitution has been enshrined in the Preamble of the constitution. The constitution is the supreme law of India, it guarantees the rights, duties and powers of the people and the state. It provides the guidelines to the state about their functioning. PART III of the constitution provides FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS. Fundamental rights provides the basic freedom, ensure security and prevent abuse against people which make people feel safe, these rights cannot be violated even not by the state, all in all, we can say that it provides safeguard to minority, majority, senior citizens, children, adults any other section of India to live with dignity in our country.
RIGHT TO EDUCATION is one of the Fundamental right provided under ARTICLE- 21 A of the constitution. Right to education is the integral part of ARTICLE 21 “right to life”,as we know Supreme Court Of India has given an extended view to the scope of Article 21 which also tells us that right to life includes right to live with dignity mere existence of human body without dignity is like a body without soul.
So the ultimate question arises here is what is the relation between the right to live with dignity and the right to education? Education in any way either formal or informal makes the realisation of rights and dignity inside people, the best use of education is the application of it.
Supreme Court in the case of MOHINI JAIN VS. STATE OF KARNATAKA, held that right to education at all levels is a fundamental right of citizens under article 21, ‘Right to life’ is the brief-expression for all those rights which the Court must enforce because they are basic to the dignified enjoyment of life. It extends to the full range of conduct which the individual is free to pursue. The right to education flows from the right to life. The right to life under Article 21 and the dignity of an individual cannot be assured unless it is accompanied by the right to education. However, in the case of UNNI KRISHNAN VS. STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH the supreme court of India partly upheld the decision given in Mohini Jain’s case. Supreme court has accepted that Right to Education is the Fundamental right but only for children of age of 6 to 14 years . After this decision, the 86th Amendment has been made in 2002 and Article 21A was added.
Before the amendment, right to education was mentioned under DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLE OF STATE POLICY under article 45 , after the 86th amendment article 45 was substituted by “The State shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.”
Article 51A was also amended and after clause (J), the clause (k) was added which says” who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.”
Therefore, we can say that before making the right to education as a fundamental right it was the fundamental duty of the state and parent or guardian to provide Education to children. The intention of the framers of the constitution was always to make citizens of the India literate for their dignity, and also for the development of the country.
ARTICLE 21A expressly stated that “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine. The words ‘free and compulsory’. ‘Free education’ means that no child, other than a child who has been admitted by his or her parents to a school which is not supported by the appropriate Government, shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education. ‘Compulsory education’ casts an obligation on the appropriate Government and local authorities to provide and ensure admission, attendance and completion of elementary education by all children in the 6-14 age group.