Madurai

‘Relax distance rule to accommodate students under RTE Act’

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Making it clear that the school management cannot be permitted to take shelter behind the non-availability of sufficient candidates within a kilometre distance rule to fill seats under the Right to Education Act, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court said that the distance rule can be relaxed to accommodate students.

It was hearing two petitions filed by parents who sought the direction to a school in Madurai to admit their children and comply with the provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. The school had taken a stand that they were residing beyond the one kilometre radius and therefore not eligible for admission under RTE quota.

Justice G.R. Swaminathan took note of the fact that the 25 % quota was not filled up. When the quota has not been exhausted, the school management is obliged to relax the distance rule and continue the process till the quota is filled up. The rules do not state that if eligible candidates are not available within the one kilometre radius, the school management need not fill up the RTE quota.

A mere look at the rules would indicate that the one kilometre distance rule is not inflexible. Children residing within walking distance will have priority. But if sufficient candidates are not available, the circle will have to be expanded. The object is to fill the RTE quota, the judge said.

The management cannot be permitted to take shelter behind the non-availability of sufficient candidates within the radius. Referring to a Delhi High Court judgement and a Bombay High Court judgment on similar lines, the judge said that adopting the approach laid down by the court alone would effectuate the constitutional vision of catering to the educational needs of the disadvantaged children.

The court directed the Mahatma Montessori Matric Higher Secondary School management to bear in mind the directions and endeavour to fill up the RTE quota. The court directed the petitioners children shall be admitted forthwith subject to fulfillment of the usual formalities.


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2022 3:01:52 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/relax-distance-rule-to-accommodate-students-under-rte-act/article65691184.ece