Unaided minority schools that have been exempted from keeping 25% seats under the Right to Education Act as per a Supreme Court ruling may soon see their protection being challenged.
A recent order by the state child rights commission states that every child has the right to education, referring to a 2012 case where a unaided minority school had denied admission to a kid on the grounds of disability.
However, members of a forum of such schools feel no other body can overrule the order of the apex court.
According to the order by the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR), schools do not promote the interest of a minority community in any manner. Therefore, these institutions cannot get the benefit of Article 29(1) and 30(1) (of the Constitution of India) and thus shall attract the provision of the RTE Act.
S C Kedia, honorary secretary of the unaided school forum, said, "The MSCPCR order won't create any confusion or lead to any debate again on RTE norms. Following the Supreme Court order, it is clear that RTE is not applicable to unaided minority schools. MSCPCR is not any government body to comment on the order passed by the Supreme Court or even can't make any changes in the norms."
Another member of the forum, Rohan Bhatt, principal of Children's Academy School, Malad, said, "There may be a specific reference to a specific school in an order. The MSCPCR may not pass a general statement because it is well not within their jurisdiction to decide."
Acting chairperson of MSCPCR, Ujjwal Uke, said, "Any order which is passed on any specific case, then all other cases of similar category will get affected. Any judicial order passed on any particular case; it is supposed to be applicable to all such similar cases."
In minority unaided schools 50% of seats belongs to a school, while the remaining is kept for open category. In case the school's quota remains unfill, the vacant seats are used to admit students from open category. About 200 schools are members of the unaided school forum.