New Delhi, Jan 17 (PTI) Refraining granting a stay, theSupreme Court today agreed to examine the validity of theprovision of Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Actwhich mandated 25 per cent of reserved seats for economicallybackward sections in private unaided schools.
A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia, justices K SRadhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar did not favour at the momentthe idea of referring the matter to a Constitution Bench.
"At the moment we are not going to stay the statutoryprovision. We are not passing any order," the bench said whenAdditional Solicitor General Indira Jaising urged the court torefrain from passing any order on the plea of private schoolschallenging the provision and seeking a stay.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for aconsortium of private schools, however, maintained that theorganisation was not pressing for a stay but suggested thatthe matter be examined by a Constitution bench in view of itsimpact on the rights of private educational institutions.
The Chief Justice said the court cannot refer thematter to a Constitution bench as it was hard pressed withother work and would only prolong the hearing.
He, however, said the three-judge bench would initiallyexamine the matter and only if warranted refer it to aConstitution Bench. The matter was posted for furtherhearing to Friday.
Earlier, the ASG said the Act has been formulated in tunewith the constitutional provisions of equality and providingfree education to the underpriveleged.
The main petitioner Society for Un-aided Private Schools,Rajasthan, and a host of associations representing variousprivate schools have questioned the validity of the Act on theground that it impinged on their rights to run the educationalinstitutions.