April 12, 2023

Right to education

This article has been written by Ms. Sampada Shankar Bhat, a student studying BA LLB at Govind Ramnath Kare College of Law, Goa. The author is a 4th-year law student.

Right to education

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela.

Introduction of your subject 

For a country to excel it becomes important for its citizens to be educated. It is a very basic yet essential thing which helps in the upliftment of society. It is a method for one to gain knowledge and earn mastery. In addition, it makes a person aware of the rights available. In a democratic State, it becomes necessary to have the education to bring stability and a clear vision. As a society, one cannot escape certain realities. According to UNESCO, India has a literacy rate of around 79%. But is it enough? No! In a country with a wide diversity and rich soil, there are several ways one can bloom but without a proper understanding of how to deal with things becomes problematic. To ensure that the literacy rate improves there are various measures that have been adopted, and one of them is bringing in the right to education as a fundamental right. The Constitution of India acts as a rule book that empowers and encourages its citizens to make themselves educated by giving them freedoms and assisting them to imagine what it is like and means to be politically, economically, and socially stable. It not exclusively gives rights but also safeguards them making it a considerably broader concept. It’s nearly impossible to achieve a goal without proper knowledge. A social transformation is a need and the constitution comprehends the same.

Article 45:- Part IV, Directive principles of state policy initially said that “the State shall provide Free and compulsory education for those who are between the age of 0 to 14 years”, was like a guideline for States to follow however, it was not an enforceable law. It was not a hard and fast rule to educate the masses. The question arose when having an education is so important for overall development then why is it not a fundamental right? It has to be a basic right that everyone should exercise. 

The Ramamurti Committee Report which was published in 1990, was the first formal document addressing the right to education. In this report, the focus was on equity and social justice, and decentralization of the educational system. The report says that nothing will hold great value if the outcome of the qualification is not up to mark. It also recommends that there should be employment because for which people can opt to study.

Mohini Jain v/s State of Karnataka, 1992 AIR 1858, 1992 SCR (3) 658

In this case, it was observed that when life and liberty are concerned it doesn’t just stick to life in the literal sense, it also has to focus on the entire development of a person for which education is needed. Without education, it becomes difficult to get a stable life.

Unnikrishnan JP v/s State of Andhra Pradesh, 1993 AIR 2178, 1993 SCR (1) 594

The court said that for now, the country can only provide basic elementary education which will be made free and compulsory for the age group of 6 to 14. The state will make provisions to help the students. Financial capacity shouldn’t be the reason for not getting a basic education.

Later on, the Tapas Majumdar committee was set up to insert Article 21A making it a fundamental right. It recommended that even children belonging to the poorest sections of society must receive an education that is of good quality.

After inserting the right to education as a fundamental right, Article 45 was amended and modified. It states that the “State endeavors to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of 6 years”. 

Article 21A:- 86th amendment to the Indian Constitution, 2002, makes it a fundamental right, which says that “the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all those children who are between the age of 6 to 14 years in a way that the state may, by law, determine”. The state, which can be both the central and state government, will keep making laws as time passes by and will make sure that the said age group is getting an education which is compulsory moreover it says that the state will make arrangements to make it free to them so that the money factor is not a justification why one is not availing the education. 

With this Article, a new Act came into the picture in 2010, the Right of children for free and compulsory education Act, of 2009, and it encircles prominent parts like admissions of students, teaching staff, the financial responsibility of the government, implementation, supervision, etc. The primary intention is to provide education so that people at least have an idea of the surroundings and know what has been done and what are things a person is not supposed to do.

Article 51-A(k):- This Article is like a binding force that notifies its citizens that it becomes their duty to provide opportunities for their children between the age group of 6 to 14 to get an education. Parents, guardians/custodians should make sure that the children between the said age group are attending school and gaining knowledge. 

Article 29:- This entire Article talks about minorities and the protection of their interest, including (2) which specifically states that “No citizen shall be denied into any educational institution governed by states or receiving aid out of state funds on grounds only on religion, race, caste, language or any of them”. Nothing should ever matter when schooling is concerned. 

Article 30 (1):- “All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”. A way to acknowledge the rights vested in minorities to establish an academic institution.

Article 15:- Dedication towards the discrimination that’s forbidden. (3) of this Article talks about protective discrimination and tries to safeguard women and children whereas (4) converses about states instigating certain arrangements for heightening the interests of socially and educationally backward classes of society. Both clauses form a strong base for (5) where it steps up shielding communities like ST and SCs to make reservations for admissions into educational institutions privately managed and also which are aided by the government.

Article 337:- regulates the special provision with concern to the educational grants for the benefit of the Anglo-Indian community.


Education is a must. It is a cure for many problems and it can help to slash social evil. The country is making an effort to give its best. Making education available to the masses without prejudice, funding them in case of instability in financial conditions. In the case of State Of Tamil Nadu and Others v/s K Shyam Sunder & Others it delivered an important message that education is not limited to free and mandatory ways but also has to be worthy. Quality lessons play a vital role in the overall development of a child. The government-aided schools welcome students to exercise basic human rights and they cannot deny admission to anyone who belongs to minorities. The new national education policy of 2020, focuses on preschool to secondary education. Furthermore is attempting to make the education system stronger and more valuable. 



Constitution of India by M.P Jain 

Mohini Jain v/s State of Karnataka, 1992 AIR 1858, 1992 SCR (3) 658

Unnikrishnan JP v/s State of Andhra Pradesh, 1993 AIR 2178, 1993 SCR (1) 594

State Of Tamil Nadu and Others v/s K Shyam Sunder & Others, Case number: C.A. No.-006015-006027 / 2011

Singh, A., 1991. Ramamurti report on education in retrospect. Economic and Political Weekly, pp.1605-1613.

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