The Gujarat High Court on Monday held that primary schools that run by minority trusts but don’t have certificate for being minority schools will have to admit students under the Right To Education Act (RTE). The court while disposing off a public interest litigation (PIL) and a set of special civil applications held that minority schools are however exempted from the 2009 Act, under which private schools have to keep 25 per cent of seats for children from “disadvantaged and weaker sections”.
The Division Bench of Justice M R Shah and Justice A Y Kogje pronounced the judgment on a set of petitions moved by over 170 schools, run by minority trusts, including Mar Gregorious Othodox Syrian Church, Vadodara; Ayyappa Education Centre, Vadodara; Rajkot Kelavani Samaj, among others.
During the hearing, the state government had submitted that petitioner schools don’t have certificates of minority primary schools. The state’s contention was that trusts of these schools have acquired minority status for secondary and higher secondary schools, but not for primary schools. It said that the competent authority never granted minority status to the primary schools.
The state submitted that only those schools are exempted from the RTE Act that have minority school certificates. In its affidavits, the state said that communication issued from the Director of Primary Education specifically stated that “any school which is claiming to have status of minority is required to produce a valid certificate of status of minority qua primary section issued by the office of Director of Primary Education…under the provisions of The National Commission for Minority Educational Institution”.
The schools have decided to challenge the High Court order in Supreme Court.
The High Court, meanwhile, extended the interim relief granted to these schools in the form not taking any coercive action against them till August 13.