|Case No.||W.P. 416/2012||Date of Filing||25/09/2012||Status||Disposed||Petitioners||Pramati Educational & Cultural Trust||Respondents||Union of India|
In 2014 there was a second constitutional challenge to the RTE Act before a 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the Pramati case again by private schools. The grounds for challenge this time were that Article 15(5) and 21A of the constitution and the RTE Act violated the basic structure of the constitution and the right to equality by making an unreasonable distinction between aided and unaided minority schools.
CLPR represented the Azim Premji Foundation as an intervenor in this matter. Jayna Kothari argued that there was a difference in the standard of scrutiny in a basic structure review and fundamental rights review and that the obligation imposed by Article 15(5) and 21A on private unaided non-minority schools was not unreasonable or against the basic features of the Constitution.
The constitutional bench of the Supreme Court once again upheld the constitutionality of the RTE Act. The Court held that as the objectives of Articles 15(5) and 21A were to provide equal opportunities for students from weaker sections of the society and would not violate the private schools’ right under Article 19(1)(g). Unfortunately the Court carved out yet another exception and held that all minority schools, even aided ones would be exempt from coverage of the RTE Act.