Right to education and constitutional imperatives- the summits of judicial creativity in India

Hiranmayee Mishra

Right to education is fundamentally linked to the realization of potential of an individual which ultimately fosters human dignity. As a socio-economic right, right to education casts positive obligation on the State and was therefore placed under the non-justiciable Directive Principles of State Policy under Part IV of the Indian Constitution. The Constitutionalisation of right to education in India has been influenced by several human rights dimensions. The Indian Courts have creatively deduced the right to education as an implicit right under the right to life, enunciated in Article 21 of the Constitution. The content and parameters of the right was deduced from Directive Principles of the State Policy under article 41, 45 and 46. Significant judicial decisions on right to education have paved the way for the Constitutional Amendment in 2002 inserting Article 21 A and the enactment of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. Although there was initial confusion regarding the applicability of the right to education to the minority schools, but the Supreme Court has consciously exempted the minority schools from the purview of the RTE Act. The article presents an analysis of the right to education in India from Constitutional Perspective. It highlights the evolution of right to education from non-enforceable Directive Principles of State Policy to judicially enforceable and constitutionally enumerated Fundamental Right. The article concludes that Indian courts as guardian of the Fundamental Rights have played a pivotal role in fulfilling the goal of universal education and transcended the ideals of education rights into reality, marking the summits of judicial creativity in India.

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