The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE) remains on paper today; four months after it secured presidential assent.
This, after the Human Resource Development Ministry flagged its passage by Parliament as one of its achievements in the first 100 days of the second edition of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
And, from all indications, the RTE — the law to operationalise the Fundamental Right to Education for children in the 6-to-14 age-group — will not come into effect till the next fiscal as the Ministry is still wrangling with the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry for adequate allocation to implement the Act.
Though the Act has been gazetted, child rights activists are discovering to their consternation that they cannot still hold the State governments to account for violating the provisions of the RTE as legislation clearly states that it will come into effect only when notified accordingly by the government.
According to Section 1(3) of the Act, “It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.” The present gazette notification is only for public information.
And, because of the delay in the notification of the RTE, the 86th Constitutional Amendment to make education for children in the 6-to-14 age-group a Fundamental Right remains on paper.