Holding that a circular of official authorities dated April 5 was illegal, the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed that a boy who was detained in Standard VI be promoted to Standard VII in the school forthwith.

Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar passed the order while allowing a petition in which the detaining of the boy was challenged. The petitioner, Ka.Kalaikottuthayam of Virugambakkam stated that the detaining of his son, Tamil Prabhakarauthayam, in Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Egmore, when the Right to Education Act had come into force, was illegal. In the circular, the Director of Matriculation Schools had issued guidelines regarding the final results for Standards VI, VII, VIII, IX and XI.

The guidelines further contemplated the procedure for getting the approval for the promotion list.

In the said guideline, it was mentioned that only on May 6 the result could be published and students who had failed in one or two or three subjects would be permitted to write an instant examination on June 7.

Mr. Justice Paul Vasanthakumar said the action of the department in issuing a circular dated April 5, which was admittedly after the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE Act) came into force from April 1, was illegal. The same is declared invalid. Only by following the circular, the school took the impugned decision in detaining the boy for low marks in the annual examination.

When the circular had been declared invalid and the boy had established his right to get admission in Standard VII in terms of Sections 4 (Special provision for children not admitted to or who have not completed elementary education), 16 (Prohibition of holding back and expulsion) and 30 (Examination and completion certificate) of the Act, which prohibited detaining of any student in the same class, the school's action was also illegal.

On the basis of the finding and in the light of Article 21 A of the Constitution as well as the provisions of the RTE Act, the school's impugned order was being set aside, the Judge said, and directed the authorities to promote/admit the boy in Standard VII in the school forthwith.

As petitioner's counsel had submitted that the petitioner was willing to apply for transfer certificate and counsel for the school had expressed willingness to issue the certificate, it was open to the petitioner to apply for it and get his son admitted to Standard VII in any other school of his choice.

If the TC were to be issued to the boy on the petitioner's voluntary request, the Judge directed the school to issue it stating that the student had been promoted to Standard VII.