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Society for Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India

Case Summary: Society for Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India

Citation: Writ Petition (C) No. 95 of 2010


The Indian Constitution is a social service document that has an organized and precise expression of economic rights based on directive principles. The parliament’s welfare rules promise to make socioeconomic resources more accessible to the general public and disadvantaged groups.

The following case analysis in Society of Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan v Union of India focuses on the RTE Act’s remarks on unaided non-minority schools. The case commentary has used a three-tiered approach to analyzing the statement in this case.

Facts of the Case:

The Society for Unaided Private Schools, a group of privately managed schools, contested the validity of section 12 of the RTE Act, claiming that placing regulatory requirements on private schools infringed on the right to pursue any profession or occupation without government intervention.

In the lack of promised governmental action, the act’s provision infringes on their freedom to run an educational institution under article 19(1) (g) of the constitution.

Several private schools contested the RTE Act’s constitutional legality in the Supreme Court shortly after it was enacted.

The main objection was to a clause that required private schools to fill 25% of Class I seats with children from underserved and disadvantaged groups. Petitioners stated that this restriction on their right to carry on a trade or business was unjustifiable.

Issues Raised:

The RTE Act’s constitutionality was the key issue before the Court, with two fundamental questions:

  1. Whether imposing mandated quotas on private schools violated Article 19 of the Constitution, which provides the freedom to practice any profession or occupation.
  1. Whether imposing quotas on minority private schools breaches Article 30 of the Constitution, which guarantees minority groups’ right to create and run private schools.

Controversial Aspect:

The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Radhakrishnan and Justice Swantanter Kumar delivered the decision in this case. The decision was not unanimous, and Judge Radhakrishnan issued a dissenting minority opinion. The court’s majority ruling determined that the challenged act is constitutionally lawful and that it applies to private unaided schools as well. The following is the reasoning used by the court:

  • First, Article 21A of the constitution mandates that the state provide free and compulsory basic education to all citizens. According to the court, the act in question was particularly adopted to successfully execute article 21A of the constitution, which expressly grants the state the ability to determine, by law, how to fulfil the act’s obligations. As a result, the state has the flexibility to meet its obligations by covering any form of school, including private unaided schools, within the ambit of the Act.
  • Second, the majority ruling stated that the act contemplates a reciprocity agreement between the state and the parents. As a result, it imposes a positive burden not only on the state but also on other stakeholders in society. As a result, the legal obligation to provide education can be appropriately extended to private schools, where unaided private schools will supplement the state’s primary duty of providing free and compulsory education while also ensuring better educational quality for children from low-income families.
  • Third, the court agreed that Article 19(1) covers the freedom to create and operate an educational institution, including the right to admit students (g). The majority, on the other hand, argued that these principles did not apply to the fundamental right to elementary education. Since the act also aims to remove financial barriers, the state can regulate the activities of unaided private schools, including admittance and adherence to a state-determined fee structure, by legislation, as long as reasonable limits are in place under article 19. (6).
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Related Case Laws:

  1. Miss Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka & Others [1992, AIR 1858]

The Indian Supreme Court ruled that charging a capitation fee by private educational institutions violated the right to education, which is derived from the right to life and human dignity, as well as the right to equal protection under the law.

  1. Environmental and Consumer Protection Foundation v. Delhi Administration & Others [2012 INSC 584]

The Indian Supreme Court ruled in this case that, under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 and the Indian Constitution, the federal, state, and municipal governments must ensure that all public and private schools have the suitable infrastructure.


The authority of the State to fulfil its commitments under the right to education can be extended to private, non-State actors, according to this case. The majority of people believe that the government has a responsibility to offer free and compulsory primary education and to maintain educational equality.

Because the State can choose how it fulfils this commitment, it can choose to impose legislative requirements on private schools as long as they are in the public interest.

Judge Radhakrishnan’s dissenting decision, which stated that the RTE Act should not apply to unaided private schools, demonstrates the broad extent of the state’s authority in this area.

According to the opposing opinion, the State has a primary obligation to preserve and fulfil the right to education, whereas non-State actors only have a negative duty not to infringe the right to education.


The Court confirmed the legitimacy of the mandated quota in private and state-run schools in a majority judgement. As a result, the Court determined that the government might constitutionally mandate private schools to set aside 25% of their admission spots for kids from low-income families.

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The Court reasoned that the RTE Act is child-centric, not institution centric, implying that providing education to all children is a top concern, regardless of the cost to private institutions. The court emphasized the importance of Article 21-A and determined that the burden placed on private schools to meet the quota was irrelevant in light of the right to education.

The Court emphasized that the state’s primary responsibility is to offer free and compulsory education to all children, especially those who cannot afford primary school.

Although Article 19, which ensures the right to practice any trade or profession, provides a right to create private schools, the Court decided that this right only applies if the school is benevolent and not for profit.

The Court, however, distinguished between private schools and private minority schools established under Article 30 of the Constitution and found that the government could not impose a 25% quota on private minority schools.

This would be a violation of minority groups’ freedom to establish private schools as guaranteed by Article 30. Article 29(1) of the Constitution protects minorities’ right to preserve their language, script, or culture, and Article 30(1) protects their freedom to create and govern schools of their choice, according to the court.

As a result, placing a quota on such schools would change their nature, and hence would be a violation of these rights.


Because of the lack of specific provisions and the Supreme Court’s decision in the TMA Pai case, it is constitutionally unjustified to impose legal obligations on private unaided actors, and the provisions incorporated in the constitution for the right to education go a long way toward indicating the responsibility was laid solely and imperatively upon the State in an unambiguous tone.

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The Declaration of the Right to Education, established in Art 21A of the 86th Constitutional Amendment, requires the state to offer free and compulsory education, allowing states to follow the model outlined in the Right to Education Act.

However, the conflict between the private school’s financial interests and their constitutional right to establish and operate educational institutions under Art. 19(1)(g) versus the application of reasonable restrictions under Art. 19(6) read with 21A in a constitutionally incorrect manner.


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