January 25, 2024


The importance of education for any society don’t need any explanation. It is well known that education lays the foundation for a prosperous and equitable nation.  Education is a powerful tool for breaking the cycle of poverty and fostering social inclusion. By ensuring that all individuals have equal access to education, societies can address systemic inequalities and empower marginalized groups. Therefore, the Right to Education serves as a cornerstone for building inclusive and diverse societies where every individual has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

The present article aims to put before the readers the constitutional safeguards available to citizens of people regarding their right to education, importance of right to education and what is right to education.


The following points highlight the importance of education.

  • Education plays a pivotal role in advancing economic development and prosperity.
  • It equips individuals with the knowledge, skills, and capabilities necessary to participate in the workforce and contribute to economic growth.
  • Education fosters innovation, critical thinking, and creativity, which are essential for driving technological advancements and societal progress.
  • Education empowers individuals to exercise their civil and political rights by enhancing their capacity for informed decision-making and active civic participation.


The Right to Education has been recognized internationally as a basic and intrinsic human right as it is linked to the realization of other human rights. Informed citizens are better equipped to hold governments accountable, advocate for their rights, and contribute to democratic governance.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, which enshrined the right to education as a fundamental human right. Since then, numerous international treaties and conventions have reiterated the significance of education and accordingly various nations, including India have incorporated the right to education under their national laws.


The journey of the right to education in the Indian Constitution and judicial decisions has been marked by significant developments and legal reforms aimed at ensuring access to quality education for all. Here is a brief overview of the key milestones:

  1. Inclusion in Directive Principles: The Indian Constitution, adopted in 1950, included the right to education as a Directive Principle of State Policy under Articles 41 and 45, which directed the state to provide free and compulsory education for children.
  2.  Constitutional Amendments: Over the years, several constitutional amendments were made to strengthen the right to education. The 86th Amendment Act of 2002 (the right to education amendment) inserted Article 21-A, making free and compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 and 14 a fundamental right.
  3.  Judicial Interpretation: The Indian judiciary has played a crucial role in interpreting and upholding the right to education.
  4. In the case of Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka (1992), the Supreme Court held that the right to education was implicit in the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  5. Unni Krishnan, J.P. & Ors. v. State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. (1993): This case addressed the issue of private unaided educational institutions and their obligation to provide free or subsidized education to a certain percentage of students from weaker sections of society.
  6. Islamic Academy of Education and Ors. v. State of Karnataka and Ors. (2003): In this case, the Supreme Court clarified that the right to establish and administer educational institutions was subject to regulatory measures by the state in order to ensure that educational standards were maintained and that the rights of students from marginalized communities were protected.
  7. Society for Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India (2012): This case dealt with the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act). The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the RTE Act while also making certain observations regarding the regulatory framework for private schools under the act.
  8. Pramati Educational & Cultural Trust & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. (2014): In this case, the Supreme Court addressed various aspects of the RTE Act, including the requirement for infrastructure norms in schools, teacher qualifications, and the obligation of the state to provide necessary resources for implementing the act.
  9. Parliamentary measures: The Parliament enacted The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, popularly known as the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Itis a landmark legislation that aims to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of 6 and 14 in India. It has following key provisions.
  10. Guarantee of free and compulsory education for children, which is seen as a fundamental right under Article 21A of the Constitution.
  11. Addressing the socio-economic barriers that often hinder children from marginalized communities from accessing quality education.
  12. The act mandates that private unaided schools reserve a certain percentage of seats for children from economically weaker sections, thereby promoting inclusivity and diversity in educational institutions.
  13. It emphasis on improving the quality of education through provisions related to infrastructure, teacher qualifications, and curriculum development. By setting minimum standards for school infrastructure and teacher-student ratios, the act strives to create an environment conducive to effective learning and holistic development.


Despite its noble intentions and progressive provisions, the RTE Act faces several challenges in its implementation.

  • The issue of inadequate infrastructure and resources in many government schools, which hinders their ability to provide quality education.
  • Ensuring compliance with the act’s provisions in private schools, particularly in terms of reserving seats for economically weaker sections, remains a complex task.
  • There are concerns regarding the quality of education being imparted, as well as the need for continuous teacher training and capacity building to meet the diverse learning needs of students.


The Right to Education Act in India represents a significant step towards realizing the constitutional vision of providing inclusive and equitable education for all children. While it has made notable strides in promoting access to education, there is a pressing need for sustained efforts to address the implementation challenges and enhance the quality of education across the country. Moreover, the ambit of children who are entitled to free and compulsory education should be broadened to include any child below 18 years. By prioritizing education as a fundamental right and investing in comprehensive reforms, India can move closer to achieving its goal of fostering a more inclusive and empowered society through education.

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