Describing the State government’s notification fixing the income ceiling at Rs. 3.5 lakh a year, and categories of weaker sections to admit students in the 25 per cent quota under the RTE Act as “vague”, the Karnataka High Court has asked the government to come out with guidelines on how the students would be selected under this quota.
A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice K. Sreedhar and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer gave this direction to the government while refusing to accept the government’s submission that Rs. 3.5-lakh income ceiling was “not excessive”.
The Bench told Additional Advocate-General Sajan Poovayya that “this notification is vague. Only creamy layer can get the benefit from this. You have made a rat hole instead of an anthill. Every other [person] can get admission except the poor. A public servant getting a decent salary can get a seat for his child under this norm. We feel you have to redo this…”
Mr. Poovayya had contended that Rs. 3.5 lakh is not the matrix in the “right of access” but only a cut-off level while pointing out that the National Council for Backward Classes had proposed Rs. 4.5 lakh a year as the income ceiling.
“In fact, you have to give admission to children in orphanages. About 40 per cent of persons fall in the below poverty level (BPL) category. So you have to think pragmatically…,” the Bench observed.
The petitioners, K. Nagesh and others from Mysore, complained that the high income ceiling denied students from BPL families having an income of merely Rs. 30,000 a year an opportunity to get admission under RTE quota.