Chennai, Mar 27: The Madras High Court was informed by the Union Government that reimbursement of tuition fees from out of the Central funds for children admitted in top private schools, under 25 per cent Right To Eduction quota, would be available to students admitted in pre-KG as well.
The clarification was submitted by the Union Government to an anomaly cited due to which Tamil Nadu Government was unable to first pay tuition fee arrears running to several crore to private schools and then demand reimbursement of the sum from the Centre.
Right to Education Act (RTE) provides admission of children from downtrodden sections of society in class one of private schools.
In Tamil Nadu majority of such free admissions had taken place in LKG and UKG classes and the state was not able to access the Central funds under the Act.
When the PIL filed by 'Change India', an NGO, came up for hearing before the First Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh the Union Government submitted that it had allocated Rs 250.65 crore for seven states for reimbursements in the academic year 2015-16.
But the PIL said that the Tamil Nadu had not received any amount for reimbursement. The bench said "we are informed that so far not a penny had been released to Tamil Nadu."
Tamil Nadu government submitted that admissions made to such private unaided schools are in LKG and UKG categories and that was stated to be creating a problem.
The Centre said that it had on January 11, 2016 written to the Tamil Nadu Government stating that the reimburse clause would apply to admissions in pre-school education as well.
Taking note of the clarification, the judges said they were "surprised that an issue that could have been sorted out between the Central and state governments had been brought to the High Court."
"Now that the letter makes the issue abundantly clear. We see no reason why the state government should not meet the requirement, where after the Central government should release the funds", the judges said.