Don''t crib on free seats to poor, SC tells pvt schools

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) The Supreme Court today saidprivate educational institutions cannot complain aboutGovernment''s decision to reserve 25 per cent of seats foreconomically weaker sections (EWS) under the RTE Act as it isan investment for the country''s future prosperity.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia, K SRadhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar observed that that there wasnothing wrong in the Government''s attempt to provide 25 percent of the EWS population quality education in privateschools.

The apex court however, said it was willing to strikedown the legislation if the private schools are able toestablish that Constitutional principles have been violated byenactment of the Right to Education Act under which free andcompulsory education had been made mandatory for all childrenin the age group of 6-14 years.

"What is wrong in 25 per cent having better educationin private schools. Today you are making an investment for thecountry. Children are the future of the country. Can the courtintervene and say it is unreasonable," the bench asked.

The bench made the observation during the hearing ofthe bunch of appeals filed by private educational institutionschallenging the 25 per cent reservation for EWS.

The apex court brushed aside the argument of seniorcounsel and former Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singhthat the legislation impinged upon the fundamental rights ofthe unaided institutions to manage their affairs withoutgovernmental control imposed a huge cost burden.

Singh appearing for various private schools arguedthat providing 25 per EWS deprived the children from themiddle class and rich their seats in the private educationalinstitutions.

In such a scenario he said the displaced children fromthe middle and rich class have to take seats in Governmentschools, creating an anomalous situation"You may be right but can we go into that arena. It isa legislative policy. You may be absolutely right on theground realities. But you have to show the Constitutionalprinciples violated.

"If a citizen''s right is violated then they can cometo us," the Chief Justice said.

The counsel submitted that the situation would lead tovarious peculiarities as the Government would end upsubsidising the education of the rich and middle classchildren in government schools.

He cited the instance of the US where the schools areall run by the Government but provide quality education.

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