It appears that the era of not rigid regulations of private unaided education (school and university) is over and a regime of stringent regulations has commenced with the Right to Education Act.
A writ petition challenging validity of RTE before the Supreme Court was contested and is lost. The reasons assigned to held the RTE Act constitutionally valid are (1) " It is not in dispute that education is a recognised head of �charity� [see T.M.A. Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka (2002) 8 SCC 481]. Therefore, even according to T.M.A. Pai Foundation, if an educational institution goes beyond �charity� into commercialization, it would not be entitled to protection of Article 19(1)(g),"
(2) However, by the Constitution (Ninety-third Amendment) Act, 2005, Article 15 is amended. It is given Article 15(5). The result is that P.A. Inamdar has been overruled on two counts: (a) whereas this Court in P.A. Inamdar had stated that there shall be no reservation in private unaided colleges, the Amendment decreed that there shall be reservations."
A review petition has been filed and in the opinion of every legal expert it is just an eye wash and no hope from it.
Fee regulation Act of Tamilnadu has been held valid by the Supreme Court. Almost every State Government either has introduced some regulations about fee or in process of enacting some legislation. A so called All India Parents Association is continuously creating pressure on Central Government and UPA to enact a Central Act for fee regulation. A bill to check unfair practices and regulation of fees in higher education is on top priority of Minister of HRD, GOI. Punjab and Haryana High Court has passed an interim order restraining schools from enhancing the fees without approval of educational boards to which a school is affiliated!
House Tax/Property Tax is being charged, electricity at commercial rates and every industrial law (ESI, minimum wages, PF, gratuity etc) is applicable on educational institution and still these are charitable! It should not be a surprise if the concession available under Income Tax Act may be reduced to nil in Direct Tax Code.
CBSE is an examination conducting body which grants affiliation from class IX but issues the directions/guidelines for class nursery to VIII also. Educational institutions are covered under Consumer Courts even when according to Apex Court it is charity.
Affiliating bodies grants affiliation only when the educational agency establishing and running the institution is incorporated under Societies Registration Act/Trust Act/Section 25 of Companies Act as non-trading companies.
Why it is so?
I had the opportunity to travel to many states, to meet schools' Principals and Management people in relation to Right to Education Act, since 2007. I found that majority of schools were not aware of a such law in offing or were very causal as if the same could not be implemented or it will take a long time to become operational. It has come and is operational with full force! It is quite amazing that media(print and electronic) was full of praise from a sizable number of Principals (noble), to whom the RTE Act is a big Social change maker legislation and educational institutions owe the responsibility. Autonomy, government interference and fundamental rights under the constitution are secondary to them. We are always a subject to sermon by every one (including our own folks). It is all because of our own attitude and approach to the issues. CCE was praised by our academic administrators and now the teachers has become clerk and the Principal is a head clerk. CCE and no detention policy for up to class VIII has started making students careless.
We rightly claim for quality education because of infrastructure, faculty, administration and management (and some time endorsed by others only when they are in midst of us or wish to seek some favour from us). But no body care for us. Unaided private educational institutions are soft targets of everyone i.e. parents, government, courts, administration, media and even our own students and employees. We are most need people but least favoured.
There are about 2 lacs private schools in the country. These are divided by many factors i.e. medium of instructions, boarding-non boarding, and small and big, rate of fees, affiliation/recognition with the different boards, now minority and non-minority, managements etc. Schools are not united because of each other feel competitor and above all a well penetrate feeling that why we should come forward when others are there and the benefit/concession granted by the state/court will be applicable of all. It is not disputed that any state or even a city/village has a unified organisation of the private school?
What is needed?
Most important required action is to make the educational institutions aware. Create a strong public relation to make people, media and law makers understand the role and contribution of private education. A strong regularly functional office which study, collect the data and keep track on what is happening in different states of India and other countries
It is now imperative that the 93rd amendment in the constitution authorising state to provide reservation in unaided educational institutions should be challenged by a separate writ petition. During the course of consultation (conferences) with Senior Advocates, it was observed that the present writ petitions (which we have lost) are the binging of the litigation and not the end. We need to approach the courts again and again.
To get the legality of RTE decided by a larger bench ( which should have heard the disposed off petition), a curative petition will be required to file.
CALL OF THE TIME:
Should all these hard realties be reasons to give up the fight?
Should some schools/individuals (who are fighting ) stop boiling on the infringement of fundamental rights and autonomy as a large number of educational institutions are sitting silent ?
Should the rule of law than rule of men be not restored?
Should the concept of "education for profit" not co-exist with the "education for not profit"?
I had the occasions to discuss a variety of issues with my friends and like minded People in last few years. I have realised that the people interested to promote and protect private initiative in education for the development of the country should join their hands, heads, money and might for the cause and create a FOUNDATION FOR PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF PRIVATE EDUCATION to move on.
Govt of India Bills
The Prohibition of unfair practices in schools bill, 2012