Extent of Right to Education written by written by Surya Sunilkumar student of Ramaiah institute of legal studies
T.Muhammed Faisi Vs State of Kerala
After confronting the government for 35 years the LP school residence in Elambra in Manjeri Municipality got justice from Kerala High Court. The decision was made on 29th July 2020 where the Bench of Hon’ble Chief Justice Mr. S. Manikumar and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Shaji P Chaly decreed that the children of the village had the Right to Education thus the government should provide necessary facilities. The judgment enunciated about what is Right to Education.
Facts of the Case
Elambra is located on the outskirts of the Manjeri Municipality. It is a socially and educationally backward area, the majority of the population including members of Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribes consists of middle-class families, with agriculture and coolie work as their vocation. An instant writ petition was filed by the petitioner stating that there were no primary schools within the radius of 3 km and for many years the local people of Elambra were making continuous efforts to build Government LP School there. Several representations were made to different authorities but no actions were taken. Later when the absence of land was given as the reason, the local people brought to land for construction of the school. Even after this, the authorities did not take any action to build a school in Elambra.
Arguments made by the petitioner
The petitioners made the following contentions seeking justice and the Right to Education:
• The petitioners have approached multiple authorities for the building of a school in Elambra. Even though the reports and surveys made these authorities stated that Elambra is a socially backward village and it needs a school, there was no action taken and thus they failed to discharge their duties.
• The counsel for the petitioner also stated that the case has been pending in the court for the last 35 years and it has made the place educationally backward.
• Another contention made was that the land was purchased by the people for the construction of school buildings and Municipality is willing to construct the building. All that is required is a sanction for establishing a Government LP School.
• According to Rule 6 of the Kerala Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011, learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that in respect of children in Standards I to V, a school shall be established within a walking distance of 1 km of the neighborhood.
Arguments made by the Respondent
The contentions made by the respondents against the claims made by the petitioners were:
• It was submitted that there were schools nearby so there was no need for the school to be constructed in that area.
• It was argued that according to the rules laid down in Rules 2 and 2(a) of Chapter V of the Kerala Education Rules, 1959, starting new schools is a policy decision of the government and individual requests cannot be entertained.
• The petitioner cannot seek a writ of mandamus, based on the order passed by Kerala State Human Right Commission
The rationale of the Court
- The court referred to the Preamble of the Constitution to understand the rights that are assured by it.
- Articles 21, 38, 39(a), and (f), 41, and 45 of the Constitution were analyzed with several case laws to understand the scope and applicability of these articles.
- Art.21 states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” Right to education is a part of this Article. Article 38 and 39(a) states the importance of security and welfare as well as the right to adequate means of livelihood. Education is a way to live in today’s contemporary world. Article 41 talks about the Right to work, education, and public assistance in certain cases. Article 45 is provision for free and compulsory education for children.
- When all these sections are studied keenly the constitution states that the petitioner has the right to education as it is a part of social and economic welfare.
- The court held the scope of Article 21 A.
- The court also stated that “…… correct rule is that mandamus will not lie where the duty is clearly discretionary and the party upon whom the duty rests has exercised his discretion reasonably and within his jurisdiction, that is, upon facts sufficient to support his action….”
The Hon’ble Kerala High Court passed a judgment stating that the petitioner will be given relief on the basis of decisions and discussions during the legal proceedings. It allowed the petition filed and also instructed the government authorities of Kerala to sanction the establishment of Government LP School, at Elambra within a period of three months. The court directed the municipality to take necessary and rapid steps for the construction of the school.