Mumbai | RTE does not apply to minority schools, says HC

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court (HC) has reiterated that Right To Education (RTE) Actdoes not apply to religious and linguistic minority schools.

Hearing a petition filed by Federation of Linguistic & Religious Minority Education Institutions, a division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Mahesh Sonak quashed orders of the state government rejecting proposals by 10 school managements to open unaided minority English-medium primary schools on the grounds that they did not comply with RTE norms.

The HC asked the state to reconsider the applications as per law. “We are of the opinion that the rejection to the proposals submitted… was not proper, particularly since such rejections failed to take into consideration the law as declared by the Supreme Court,” said the judges.

The HC referred to the 2014 apex court order that held that provisions of RTE do not apply to aided or unaided minority institutions. The apex court had said that if RTE law were made applicable to such institutions, it would violate their rights and destroy the minority character of the schools.

 The RTE, enacted in 2009, says that all private schools that receive government aid and grants have to reserve at least 25% of seats for the poor and other categories of children who will be provided free, compulsory education.
The government reimburses expenses to schools. In 2010, the state invited applications for opening new schools in the state. The state education department received over 7,475 applications. In 2013, it rejected the applications as they did not comply with the RTE Act.
The Federation and the 10 schools approached the HC, challenging the rejection orders. The Federation claimed that the 2014 law made it clear that RTE does not apply to aided or unaided minority educational institutions.

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