Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Couple with Rs 30L pay seek free schooling

Couple with Rs 30L pay seek free schooling

A Subramani, TNN Jul 16, 2012, 04.08AM IST

CHENNAI: Can a couple, earning Rs 30 lakh per annum as salary between them, demand admission and free education for their child in a neighbourhood school under the 'weaker section' category as per the Right To Education (RTE) Act?
No, is the Madras high court's answer.
Justice K Chandru, rejecting the claim of a child's mother, said: "If it is accepted, it will do violence to the object of the RTE Act and the quota meant for the children belonging to the disadvantaged group and weaker sections will be cornered by persons claiming relief under the category of social and economic backward classes without exclusion of creamy layers."

Priyanka Rajkumar, a software company manager, earns Rs 12 lakh per annum, while her husband, who is a chief technology officer, has an annual income of Rs 18 lakh. Noting that they belonged to a backward class community, Priyanka Rajkumar approached the court saying their son should be admitted to the Bharathya Vidya Bhavan's Rajaji Vidyashram under the RTE Act. As per the Act, every school is mandated to fill up at least 25% of the total intake with candidates from weaker sections in the neighbourhood.
Though the school had received the application for admission under the category, the parents were later informed that the management had filled 54 seats under the free category from among 91 applicants from weaker sections. One of the means adopted to admit students was drawing of lots in the presence of the school managing committee and an MLA.
Assailing the rejection of seat to her son, she preferred the present writ petition, saying admission by random does not mean drawing of lots and that it should not have been done without a notice to her. Also, her child belonged to a socially and economically backward class notwithstanding their income of more than Rs 30 lakh annual income. As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, there is no concept of creamy layer among the communities identified as socially and economically backward, it was submitted, adding: "The fact that they are earning more than Rs 30 lakh cannot be used for denial of admission."
Justice Chandru, rejecting the arguments, pointed out that the term 'weaker section' had been defined as a child whose parents or guardians having an annual income of less than Rs 2 lakh, said: "If that was the intention of the state that the child whose parents' or guardian's annual income is less than Rs 2 lakh, then it is unthinkable for the petitioner, whose family income is more than Rs 30 lakh, to contend that without any ceiling limit, they should be admitted under the category of disadvantaged group."
Approving of the lot system followed by the school, the judge also appreciated it for having adopted a 'transparent procedure' in admitting the children under the 25 per cent quota. "Since the school has done something even beyond the RTE Act, they are to be appreciated for the gesture shown," he said.

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