Right To Education (Article 21A) – A Fundamental Right

Education is a basic human right. For the success of the democratic system of government, education is one of the basic elements for the development of society as well as for the whole country. Education gives a person human dignity who develops himself as well as contributes to the development of the country. The framers or forefathers of the constitution realizing the importance of education imposed a duty on the state under article 45 as one of the directive policy of the state 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 objector rationale behind this provision is to remove or abolish the illiteracy from the country. Education is a powerful and important tool by which economically and socially marginalized adults and children can uplift themselves and participate as citizens in the community or society.

The constitution (86th amendment) Act, 2002 inserted a new Article 21A after article 21 and made education for all children of age of 6 to 14 years a fundamental right. It provides “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of age of 6 to 14 years in such manner as the state may, by law, determine.”[1]

Judicial Initiative

In Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka AIR 1992 SC 1858, the court held that right to education at all levels a fundamental right under article 21 of the constitution of India and charging high capitation fees for admission is illegal and amounted to a denial of a citizen’s right o education. Education in India is not a commodity. However, the court did not pointed out that up to what age a citizen has the right to education guaranteed by the constitution.

In Unni Krishnan v. State of A.P (1993) 1 SCC 645 –The court specifically pointed out that the right to education for children of age of 6 to 14 years a fundamental right. The court did not agree with the decision of Mohini Jain case and overruled it on this point. The court held after 14 years of age of children, the obligation of the state depends on the economic capacity and development. Article 21A makes it obligatory for the government to enact central legislation to give effect to the constitutional amendment. The legislation will create a mechanism by which a citizen who is aggrieved whose right to education has not been fulfilled should be able to get relief by filing writ petitions in the High courts or Supreme courts. The parliament to give effect to the 86th constitution Amendment Act, 2002, passed the right of children to compulsory education Act, 2009. The Act contains seven chapters and 38 sections. It provides the responsibilities of the central or state government, teachers, parents and community members in ensuring that all children of the age of 6 and 14 years receive free and compulsory education.

[1] Article 21A

Also Read: Types of Writs under Constitution of India

Vaishali Phull

Content Writer, Law Corner, Student of BBA LLB, 3rd Year, Sharda University

Leave a Comment