Two rules under the Right to Education (RTE) Act are being imposed on minority schools by the central HRD ministry despite a Supreme Court directive exempting them from implementing the RTE Act.
The HRD ministry has asked state governments to ensure that minority schools implement continuous promotion of students till Class VIII and desist from corporal punishment. Even though minority institutions have constitutional protection to promote education and have the right to establish and administer educational schools of their choice, the HRD ministry feels that the provisions related to continuous promotion and corporal punishment under RTE Act do not impinge the “substance of the guaranteed rights to administer educational institutions”.
A letter written by the HRD ministry to the education secretaries of all state government education departments in August says “the regulatory provision as provided in the RTE Act appear to be applicable to minority institutions in terms of Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India”. This implies that the minority schools have to mandatorily apply the rules of related to continuous promotions and no corporal punishment.
Supreme Court had earlier (May, 2012) held that minority institutions, both aided and un-aided by the government, were exempt from implementing the RTE Act. Aided minority institutions were not exempted.
The HRD ministry´s action came after consultations with the legal affairs department on a query from Arnab Roy, education secretary, West Bengal, on applying child rights norms under the RTE act to minority schools.