Any school that detains or expels its students due to poor academic performance will be violating the Right to Education (RTE) Act provisions, the high court said. The court also said that any such actions from the schools mean that they have failed to provide good training to students.
The ruling was made by Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar, considering the petition by a parent challenging the refusal of promotion to her son from class 6 to 7 by Vidyodaya School, Thevakkal.
"A reading of the provisions of sections 13, 16, and 17 of the Act would clearly indicate that once a student has been admitted to a recognized school in accordance with the provisions of the Act, then the student must progress through the various stages of elementary education in that school without any hindrance and without being held back in any class, or expelled from the school till the completion of his elementary education. This appears to be the statutory mandate of the Right to Education Act, the purpose and object of which is to ensure that every child receives free and compulsory elementary education pursuant to the fundamental right guaranteed through Article 21A of the Constitution of India," the court said,ordering the school to promote the child.
According to Article 21A, all children between 6 and 14 years of age must receive free and compulsory education. The school has argued that the child is being held back for not attaining the academic standards set by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). However, the court ruled against the school's contention. The judgement said, "The fundamental right of the child to elementary education, which is traceable to Article 21A read with provisions of the RTE Act and Rules, cannot be made conditional on the child attaining minimum standards of academic performance as prescribed by the school or the affiliating board."
The court also said that if children fail to attain the prescribed academic standards, it shows the poor performance of the schools. When the school says that a student failed to meet the minimum required academic standards, it can only be seen as the school agreeing to be a failure in giving training needed for the student. Therefore, students who fail to achieve the minimum academic standards must inform schools about the insufficiencies in its training programmes.