This article has been written by Dhriti Thingalaya. Here, the author attempts to present noteworthy changes that took place after the remarkable judicial decision that changed the entire discourse of the educational system in India. This article gives an overview of how an inclusive educational system was established with the help of this landmark judgement, which aided in the insertion of an important Act that ultimately resulted in the recognition of the right to education as a fundamental right.


In the early 1990s, India underwent a notable expansion in the branch of education by establishing private schools, and colleges, particularly those  offering professional courses in the fields of medicine, law, engineering, etc. The availability of specialised learning opportunities brought both advantages and challenges. On one hand, it offered avenues for focused learning in specific fields but on the other hand, the high fees they charged posed a significant challenge. Enrollment in these specialised courses became difficult, particularly for those individuals with limited financial resources. This situation prevented many from pursuing private educational institutions.

In order to address this pressing issue of financial accessibility and to promote inclusivity in education for all sections of  society, the Indian government introduced the reservation system known as “government seats.” This innovative initiative aimed to reserve a portion of seats for those students belonging to a specific strata of society who have been historically discriminated against on various grounds, taking a positive step towards upliftment and inclusive education for children hailing from those communities.

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The concept of  “government seat” mainly deals with allocating a certain percentage of available seats in private educational institutions to students from socially disadvantaged groups. This aims to address financial barriers that otherwise would have prevented students belonging from marginalised communities from accessing such professional courses in such  esteemed private institutions. This approach aligns with constitutional principles of equality and social justice, emphasising the importance of ensuring that all segments of society have fair access to educational opportunities. 

While this initiative was introduced to  contribute to increasing access to higher education for historically marginalised communities, it also led to the discussion of an issue of accessibility to education due to increasing capitation fees in private educational institutes. The focus was placed on this issue in the case of Mohini Jain v. the State of Karnataka (1992). This case highlighted  the importance of education, which should be made accessible to every citizen without making it a luxury that is reserved for a privileged few. The Supreme Court’s deliberations in the Mohini Jain case went beyond examining the legality of capitation fees; they also looked into the constitutional obligation of educational institutions and the state to ensure equal access to education for all citizens. The court acknowledged that the high fees could pose a significant financial obstacle, especially for economically disadvantaged individuals, limiting their ability to exercise their right to education.

Details of Miss Mohini Jain vs. State of Karnataka and Ors. (1992)

Case name

Miss Mohini Jain vs. State of Karnataka and Ors.

Case no.

456 of 1991

Equivalent Citations

1992, AIR 1858, 1992 SCR (3) 658

Laws and Statutes involved 


Supreme Court


Kuldip Singh (J), Sahai, R.M (J)


Miss Mohini Jain


State of Karnataka

Judgement Date

30th July, 1992

Facts of Miss Mohini Jain vs. State of Karnataka and Ors. (1992) 

In 1983, the government of Karnataka enacted legislation that permitted private education institutions to charge a capitation fee for admissions to professional courses. The capitation fee merely means the additional charge that was levied beyond the standard tuition fee and operated on the model of demand and supply dynamics. More importantly, the capitation fee was determined based on the level of demand for a particular course; the higher the demand for a course, the greater the capitation fee. It is important to note here that while this approach potentially addressed financial considerations for educational institutions, it also brought about concerns about the affordability and accessibility of education, particularly for students hailing from economically backward sections of society.

In the subsequent year, the Karnataka legislature came up with a bill that is referred to as Karnataka Education Act (Prohibition of Capitation Fee). This bill was passed with an intention of abolishing the practice of accepting  capitation fees, over and above the regular tuition fees for students during the time of admission.

On June 5, 1989, the Karnataka legislature released a notification, which was also known as an impugned or challenging notification under Section 5(1). The notification established a cap on the maximum tuition fees that private medical colleges could charge their students in the state. According to the notification, the students were categorised into different sections, thereby creating a three tier fee structure depending on their merit as well as whether they belonged to the respective state or not. Under this notification, the private medical colleges located within the states were allowed to levy higher admission fees for those students who were not admitted through government seats than those who were. Specifically, students admitted to government seats were obligated to pay Rs. 2,000 per year in fees. Karnataka students who did not secure government seats incurred fees of up to Rs. 25,000 per year, while students from outside Karnataka were supposed to pay Rs. 60,000.

The petitioner, Miss Mohini Jain, a resident of Meerut, had applied for the M.B.B.S. course in a private medical college named Shri Siddharta, Aglakote, Tumkur, Karnataka. She was intimated via post that her admission to the medical college would commence in the months of February/March of 1991. The college management also asked the petitioners to pay an amount of Rs. 60000/- as her tuition fees for her first year and was informed to provide a bank guarantee in respect to the remaining fees for the remaining years of the M.B.B.S. course. On hearing this, the father immediately informed the management officials that the amount to be paid was beyond his reach and that he wouldn’t be able to pay such excessively high money. Due to this, the college management denied Miss Mohini’s admission to the medical course.

The college management was also accused of demanding an additional amount of 4,50000, but they denied this allegation as claimed by the petitioner. Subsequently, the petitioner filed a writ petition under Article 32(1) of the Constitution of India, challenging the notification issued by the government of Karnataka. 

This case marked a remarkable  moment in post-independent India. Because it was the first time, the Supreme Court delved into the details of the right to education for Indian citizens and the state’s responsibility to uphold this fundamental right.

Issues raised 

  • Whether the right to education is considered a fundamental right under the Constitution of India?
  • Whether charging a capitation fee comply with the principle outlined under Article 14
  • Whether the government’s notification allows for the collection of capitation fees under the pretence of regulation?

Contentions by the parties


The petitioner, Miss Mohini Jain, raised several contentions under the pretext of the constitutional validity of the notification released. The following are the major contentions raised by the petitioner.

  • Infringement of fundamental right of education: 

The fundamental right to education, protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, is crucial for citizens to live a dignified life. The petitioner further contended that it is an important right for the holistic growth of an individual’s personality and for the development of their thoughts and actions. However, the policy of demanding capitation fees creates financial barriers, preventing those who are unable to afford such a heavy cost from attaining the most primary aspect of a person’s life, thereby violating their fundamental right to seek education.

  • Arbitrary and unjustifiable imposition of capitation fees

The policy of collecting a capitation fee in addition to the tuition fee is excessively high, and there seems to be no reasonable nexus or any link between the fees charged by these private universities  and the quality of education provided by them; hence, this policy is arbitrary and unjustifiable in nature.This infringes on the fundamental right to equality as guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.

  • The capitation fee is a discriminatory policy

The petitioner highlights the discriminatory nature of the policy of charging capitation fees. It is primarily targeted at those sections of  society who are financially weak to pay such exorbitant money. Discrimination is prohibited under the Constitution, which violates the principle of equality that is prescribed under Article14.

  • Concept of Capitation fee is against the Directive Principle of State Policy 

The petitioner points out that the unreasonable demand for capitation fee policy goes against the principle of the Directive Principle of State Policy. The petitioner contends that the capitation fee policy contradicts the Directive Principle of State Policy outlined in Articles 38 and Article 39 of the Constitution. These principles underscores the state’s obligation to promote the welfare of citizens and guarantee equal opportunities for all, which the capitation fee policy fails to uphold. The petitioner highlights the state’s responsibility to promote individual well-being and ensure equal access to opportunities. Additionally, the petitioner contends that treating education as a commodity rather than a public asset contradicts public policy principles, deviating from the broader public interest. Overall, the petitioner’s case revolves around the capitation fee policy’s unconstitutional, arbitrary, and discriminatory nature, along with its conflict with public policy.


The following are the major contentions raised by the respondents.

  • Maintenance of quality education

The respondents initial arguments focus on the merit based admission system in medical colleges, stating that it helps uphold institutional standards within the medical profession. They also contend that providing reduced admission fees to deserving and meritorious students promotes broader access to education. They believe that merit based admission improves the academic environment and encourages healthy competition among students, which ultimately benefits the overall education system.

  • Impact of reservation policy for women

The State of Karnataka argues against reserving seats for women, expressing concerns about potential impacts on the quality and standards of medical education. They suggest that such reservations could lead to variations in merit levels between male and female candidates. Additionally, they argue that such reservation may be discriminatory against meritorious male candidates, going against constitutional principles of equality and non-discrimination in the Constitution. Additionally, the State further asserts that this policy contradicts the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, which does not prescribe any reservation for women. Moreover, Karnataka further argues that the reservation for women may not serve the larger societal interest, potentially leading to a shortage of doctors and dentists, adversely impacting healthcare services.

  • Accurate classification among students

The respondents, the State of Karnataka and others argued that the system of providing admission on the basis of classification of students was necessary, to provide benefits to meritorious students under government seats and also to maintain the quality of education by admitting rank holders in private educational institutes so that it raises their standard in the area of the medical profession. Thus, according to them, such classification among students is indeed necessary and beneficial for covering the costs of medical education for the students belonging to government seats who are given the exception to pay nominal fees for their entire medical education.

  • Reasonableness of tuition fee

According to the Karnataka Private Medical Colleges Association, it’s highlighted that neither the State of Karnataka nor the Federal Government provide financial support to private medical colleges in the state. They argue that the cost of an MBBS program in these private institutions, spanning five years, is approximately five lakhs per student. With only 40% of seats covered by the “Government Quota” and a minimal annual fee of Rs. 2,000, students admitted under the management quota bear the financial burden. The association asserts that the tuition fee is not exorbitant and that the current structure does not yield significant profits for private medical colleges in Karnataka.

Judgement in Miss Mohini Jain vs. State of Karnataka and Ors. (1992) 

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, guided by fundamental principles, rendered its verdict in the following manner.

The imposition of capitation fees in an educational institute is a breach of one’s fundamental right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21, as the right to life encompasses all the basic principles that are necessary to live a dignified life. The right to education being one of them is an essential right that helps in the complete transformation of a human being from childhood to the age of adulthood. The Court emphasised that a human being’s right to live a life with dignity needs to be protected under several circumstances. This can only be assured when individuals have the right to access education, and it is the duty of the state to fulfil its obligation towards its citizens by enabling this right for every other person belonging to different strata of society.   

At the time of independence, almost 1/3rd of the population was illiterate, as they didn’t have sufficient means to access education and thus a surge of illiteracy was seen among the public at large. Hence, the framers of the Constitution decided to incorporate Articles 41 and 45 in Chapter IV of the Constitution. Article 41 states that the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provisions for securing the right to work, education and public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and Article 45 directs the state to provide free and compulsory education for children until they reach the age of 14 years and also provide early childhood care for children until they complete the age of six years.

Criminal litigation

It was further held that the capitation fees infringe upon Article 14 of the Constitution, which ensures equality before the law. By imposing such fees, economically disadvantaged individuals are unfairly restricted from accessing educational opportunities, hindering their access to equal educational opportunities due to their financial constraints. The court noted that these fees predominantly served as profit-oriented requirements imposed by commercial educational institutions, bearing minimal relevance to the quality of education provided. 

The court directed the government to regulate fees charged by such private educational institutes, emphasising the prohibition of capitation fees. The court highlighted the government’s responsibility in protecting the rights of individuals, accessible to all and not limited to the affluent. Additionally, the Hon’ble Court also guided the state to act in line with the Directive Principles of State Policy. The Court emphasised the interconnectedness of fundamental rights under Part III and Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution, stressing the need to interpret them in tandem.

Another Fundamental Right that is being violated if not given access to education is freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 of the Constitution. This Article cannot be enjoyed in its entirety if the citizens are not acquainted with the recent updates that are going on around the world and if the citizens are stripped of their right to access education freely without any restriction. Illiterate people are bound to get exploited. The vision of all these provisions is difficult to achieve without education. The Directive principles are integral to the governance of the country, as they cannot be viewed independently from the fundamental rights. They complement each other and should be interpreted or read along with fundamental rights.

All the provisions referred to above, which are guaranteed under the Constitution, were invoked by the court, emphasising the commitment outlined in the preamble to ensure ’justice, social, economic and political’. Additionally, the Preamble underscored the importance of ‘Equality of status and opportunity’. The Court asserted that aspirations embedded in the Preamble, crucial for the nation, could only materialize through education, highlighting its pivotal role in translating these objectives from mere ideals on paper to tangible realities.

Rationale behind the judgement 

The rationale behind the judgement was purely based on the rule of law and upholding the fundamental principles necessary for living a dignified life. 

Prior to the enactment of the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act of 2002, and even before the Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka case, it was not clear whether the right to education really comes under fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. There were several precedents that were raised in this particular case that help us understand the multiple views that were opined in different cases about the right to education.

The landmark case of Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India (1983) set a significant precedent, emphasising that the right to live with human dignity, as enshrined in Article 21, is rooted in the Directive Principles of State Policy. Specifically, it highlighted the importance of principles related to workers, children, health and human working conditions. 

The court asserted that these requirements are fundamental requisites that are indispensable for individuals to maintain a life of dignity and neither the central nor the state governments possess the authority to deprive people of these essential needs. 

Additionally, Article 14 was discussed, highlighting its opposition to the arbitrariness in equality under the law. Notable cases include E.P. Royappa v. State of Tamil Nadu (1973), Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978), Ramana Dayaram Shetty v. The International Airport Authority of India (1979), etc. All these cases were cited to demonstrate that Article 14 protects against arbitrary actions by authorities. 

Before this decision, many courts held varying opinions on the issue, and there wasn’t any specific law limiting private educational institutions from charging capitation fees. Because of this, many institutions were charging high capitation fees, making it hard for financially struggling individuals to access education. The ruling played a significant role in making the right to education a fundamental right and curbing the unchecked imposition of capitation fees by private institutions.

Analysis of Miss Mohini Jain vs. State of Karnataka and Ors. (1992) 

The landmark judgement in the case of Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka addresses the issue of capitation fees in private colleges and their infringement on the right to education for students who cannot afford it.

The fundamental rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution of India, including the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 and the right to personal liberty and dignity, are integral to an individual’s life. A crucial aspect that complements these fundamental rights is the “right to education,” deemed essential in ensuring the meaningful exercise of the rights outlined in Part III. The Constitution also mandates states to establish educational institutions for the benefit of all citizens. These institutes must be created beyond the categorisation of economically weak or affluent classes. 

The surge in demand for medical education has resulted in the development of many pirate medical institutes. However, the prevalent issue of capitation fees charged by these institutes has become a common practice in nearly all private institutes, effectively transforming education into a commodity.This concept of profit earning through education is deemed contradictory to the constitutional scheme and inconsistent with Indian culture and heritage. 

Professional organisations like the Indian Medical Association have unanimously condemned the changing of capitation fees, emphasising the adverse effects on medical education standards and the resulting migration of professionals to other professions. The right to education is underscored as a constitutional entitlement, and when the State grants recognition to private educational institutions, it essentially deputises them to fulfil its constitutional obligation. Charging capitation fees for admission to these institutions is seen as a direct infringement on a citizen’s right to education under the Constitution.

In Indian society, education has always been seen as a sacred obligation, a crucial duty, and not merely a profit making business. Building and running schools has been seen as a charitable act. Education in India is never seen as a commodity for sale, but charging capitation fees has been seen as contrary to the ethos. Considering the prevalence of poverty in India, it is a concerning situation for which efforts were taken to end poverty, ensuring that everyone has access to the right to life. Allowing schools to charge capitation fees, especially government recognised ones, is seen as unfair and breaks the rule of  treating everyone equally under Article 14 of the Constitution, as it places education beyond the reach of economically backward classes. Furthermore, this landmark case of Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka has further strengthened the equality clause, emphasising the importance of ensuring equal access to education for all citizens.

Effects of the judgement in Miss Mohini Jain vs. State of Karnataka and Ors. (1992)

The judgement had a tremendous impact as it was challenged in the court of law in the case of Unni Krishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh (1992), which further strengthened the claim of the right to education as a fundamental right.

Unnikrishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh (1992)

In the case of Unni Krishna v. State of Andhra Pradesh (1992), the constitutional issue that was raised before the Hon’ble Court was with regards to whether the right to life, guaranteed under the fundamental rights of the Constitution, extends to the right to education at a higher level. Many petitions were filed claiming to extend this right further in order to provide access to education to a larger section of the population. The main point of contention revolved around, just as the right to education is enabled by primary education, similarly, the right to education should also be made available for higher education. However, this claim was rejected by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. 

The case was in connection with Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka, where the Hon’ble Supreme Court passed a decision that people have a constitutional right to education. The issue relating to the right to education referred to under Article  45 of the Constitution of India, which is in tandem with Article 21 enshrined under the fundamental rights, was not explicitly expressed or addressed in the aforementioned case of Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka.

Statement of facts

The Supreme Court of India addressed the issue through writ petitions and civil appeals, focusing on how Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which deals with the right to life and personal liberty, applies to professional education. The main point of contention was whether professional education falls within the ambit of the right to life and personal liberty. The petitioner argued on the grounds that the ‘Right to Education’ applies to or mainly refers to primary education. However, judges disagreed with this interpretation, leading to the dismissal of the case. The case referred to the precedent set by Miss Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka The case drew on the precedent set by Mohini Jain v. the State of Karnataka, emphasising the citizens’ fundamental right to education but not explicitly addressing whether the ‘Right to Primary Education’ in Article 45 is a fundamental right under Article 21. The case originated from petitions filed by various private educational institutions challenging state laws enacted to regulate fee charges in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra. These institutions opposed the matter and brought the matter to the court, questioning the precedent set in Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka. 

Issues raised

  • Whether the fundamental right to education applies to medical engineering or other professional courses?
  • Whether the establishment of a private educational institute falls within the scope of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution?
  • Is there a fundamental right to education guaranteed to all Indian citizens under the Indian Constitution?
  • Does the recognition or affiliation of education institutions make it an instrumentality? 

Arguments advanced

Contentions of Petitioners

The petitioners argued that, as per Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, every citizen possesses the fundamental right to establish educational institutions, including those driven by a profit motive. They contended that the flaw lies in excessive state control rather than in private individuals or bodies establishing educational institutions. Emphasising the law of demand and supply, the petitioners asserted that allowing free play to these market forces is crucial. They further claimed the right to establish self-financing institutions, asserting that individuals have the right to collect funds and establish educational institutions for the benefit of society. The petitioners challenged the classification of amounts collected beyond fees as capitation fees, arguing that the high costs of educating medical and engineering students make private institutions reliant on alternative funding, unlike government-funded institutions.

Article 19(1)(g) was highlighted to affirm the right of petitioners to establish private education, whether self-financing or cost-based. The petitioners contended that the right could only be restricted by law, as stipulated in Article 19(6). 

Contention of Respondent

The respondents argued that education in Indian civilization has always been viewed as a moral duty towards society rather than a business for making profits. It further contended that when the state allows private institutions to carry out their function of providing education, it is of utmost importance to ensure that economic power does not give undue advantage to such institutions to administer arbitrarily. The right to establish an institution, according to the respondent, does not inherently include the right to recognition or affiliation. Therefore, the state can impose conditions for recognition to uphold fairness, merit, and educational standards in the societal interest. Private institutions, seen as performing a vital public function, were argued to be subject to “state action,” restricting them from charging fees beyond the bare running costs.


The court asserted that the citizens fundamental right to education has been protected under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution but also put emphasis that this right is not absolute. Considering Articles 45, 46 and 41, the court emphasised that the right to education is subject to economic capacity and the state’s development. The judgement highlighted the interconnectedness of the fundamental rights and directive principles.

Aided schools and colleges were strictly directed to follow government rules and regulations, especially when it comes to admitting students based on merit. Un-aided institutions, although not required to follow the pattern established by the government, have a limit that is prescribed for them on how much they could charge. Aided institutions were directed to follow government regulations, especially regarding admissions based on merit. Unaided institutions, while not compelled to match governmental fees, were subject to a ceiling. The court affirmed that education, guided by Article 19(1)(g), is not treated as commerce but as a religious duty and charitable activity. The right to establish an educational institution does not automatically include the right to recognition or affiliation, as per the precedent in the Ahmedabad St. Xaviers College v. the state of Gujarat. (1974) The state’s role in granting recognition or affiliation involves ensuring standard education and fairness in admissions. Section 3-A of the Andhra Pradesh Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1983, was declared void for violating Article 14. Civil appeals by Andhra Pradesh students were allowed with conditions for compliance by the educational institutions.

86th Constitutional Amendment 

The origin of the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002 can be traced back to the foundational principles of the Indian Constitution. Article 45 mandated the state to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of fourteen within a decade of the Constitution’s commencement. However, this directive faced many challenges due to financial and administrative obstacles. Over time, there was a growing realisation of the necessity of elevating the right to education to the status of a fundamental right. This recognition emerged from the understanding that education is not only a societal benefit but also a fundamental requirement for individual empowerment, societal advancement, and national progress. The movement advocating for social justice and equality  propelled the demand for constitutional acknowledgement of the right to education.

Significant changes brought about by this Act

Fundamental rights

Firstly, Article 21A was introduced below Article 21, making it a fundamental right. It mandated the state to provide free and compulsory education for all children aged between 6 and 14 years old. This change reflects an emphasis on nurturing children’s development from an early age, instead of being coerced into labour or falling prey to activities such as begging, child trafficking, etc.

Directive Principles 

Secondly, Article 45 went  through a major change, shifting the focus from providing free and  compulsory education for children up to 14 years of age. This change reflects an emphasis on nurturing children’s development from an early age.

Fundamental Duties

Thirdly, an amendment to Article 51A introduced a new clause (k), placing an emphasis on parents or guardians providing opportunities for education to their children between the ages of six and fourteen. This addition underscores the crucial role of parental involvement in facilitating children’s access to education.

Additional Provisions

  • Children from disadvantaged groups: The definition of a “child belonging to a disadvantaged group.” The scope of this definition was widened, which further included children with disabilities. This expansion was facilitated through the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Ammendment) Bill, 2010, promoting inclusivity in education.
  • Teacher regulation: The Act mandates that teachers should completely focus on teaching duties; no non- teaching duties must be assigned to the teachers; and recommends continuous professional development for untrained teachers within  years. 
  • School infrastructure standards: Minimum infrastructure requirements are outlined for schools, and non-compliant schools are given a grace period of three years to meet these standards or face derecognition
  • Reservation: A 25% reservation for disadvantaged sections of society is mandated, along with parent representation comprising 75% of school management committees, including 50% women members.
  • Rules for examinations: The Act abolishes exams, including board examinations for classes V and VIII, promoting a holistic approach.
  • Teacher-Student Ratio: Specific teacher-student ratios are prescribed for different class levels, ensuring adequate attention and supporting student’s learning needs.
  • Corporal punishment: This sort of punishment is explicitly prohibited under the Act, promoting a safe, nurturing environment.
  • Private teaching: Teachers are prohibited from engaging in private teaching activities to prevent conflicts of interest.
  • Monitoring and advisory bodies: National and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights are tasked with monitoring the Act’s implementation, supported by a National Advisory Council advising the central government on its execution.

Overall, the 86th Amendment Act represents a comprehensive effort to enhance access to quality education, protect children’s rights, and foster an inclusive and equitable educational ecosystem in India.

Right to Education Act 

The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, passed in 2009, is a crucial law in India’s educational system. It is also popularly known as the Right to Education Act (RTE). It was enacted on August 4, 2009, under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. The Act underscores the significance of free and compulsory education for children aged 6-14. This makes India one of many countries that guarantees education as a fundamental right for all kids. The Act not only mandates fundamental rights but also sets minimum standards for elementary schools and requires private schools to reserve 25% of their seats for children from economically weaker sections. The state government reimburses the expenses as part of a public private partnership initiative. Additionally, the Act also stops unrecognised schools from operating and prohibits practices like asking for donations or extra fees during admission, making sure that all kids have fair and equitable access to education.

Moreover, the Act prohibits schools from holding back or expelling any child until they finish elementary education. It also provides special training programmes for kids who have dropped out of school, aiming to put dropouts on par with their peers. Through surveys, the Act identifies who needs education and sets up facilities to provide it. Putting the onus on the governments to ensure that the kids enrol, attend, and complete their schooling. As mentioned above, the Act extends the right to education to persons with disabilities up to the age of 18, emphasising inclusivity and accessibility in the educational landscape. It also addresses various other aspects, such as improving the school building, maintaining the student-teacher ratio, and enhancing faculty standards, thereby aiming for holistic development in the education sector.

The RTE Act, being a concurrent issue in the Indian Constitution, outlines specific responsibilities for the central, state, and local bodies for its implementation. Though states have faced financial challenges in providing quality education, the Act requires cooperation between the state and central government to support educational initiatives. Initial funding estimates were increased. Moreover, there have been discussions which have centred around extending the right to education up to Class X (age 16) and even to preschool age, reflecting continued efforts for broader access to education. To help with implementation, the Ministry of Human Resource Development established a National Advisory Council composed of eminent experts from different fields, ensuring diverse perspectives in policy formulation and execution. Despite several efforts and significant strides, challenges remain, as highlighted in reports indicating gaps in enrolment and teacher shortages, necessitating continuous efforts to fulfil the promise of universal education.

In conclusion, the RTE Act represents a transformative step towards realising the constitutional vision of providing quality education to all children in India. By emphasising inclusivity, equity, and accessibility, the Act lays the foundation for a more robust and equitable educational system, paving the way for a brighter future for generations to come.


The landmark case Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka, along with subsequent legal developments, has significantly shaped the landscape of the education system in India. 

It underscored the fundamental right to education as enshrined in the Constitution and highlighted the state’s obligation to ensure access to education for all citizens, irrespective of economic status. The judgement played a pivotal role in curbing the imposition of capitation fees by private educational institutions, emphasising the importance of education as a social good rather than a commodity. Furthermore, it affirmed the interconnectedness of the fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy, emphasising their collective role in promoting social justice and equality. Through its comprehensive analysis and far-reaching implications, the case represents the judiciary’s commitment to upholding constitutional principles and advancing the cause of inclusive education in India.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the right to education a fundamental right? 

Right to education has been inserted into Part III of the Constitution of India, which deals with  fundamental rights. It was added with the insertion of the 86th Amendment Act, 2002, which enabled free and compulsory education for all children in the age group of six to fourteen years of age.

What does the 86th Constitutional Amendment imply?

The 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, passed in 2002, made education a fundamental right for children aged 6 to 14 by inserting Article 21A into the Indian Constitution.

Which committee was responsible for the insertion of Article 21A?

The committee responsible for the insertion of Article 21A was the “Constitution Review Committee,” headed by Dr. Dinesh Goswami.


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