No child can be held back or expelled till the completion of elementary education in light of Section 16 of the RTE Act, 2009

Chhattisgarh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sanjay K. Agrawal J., decided a writ petition filed challenging the order of school authorities (DPS) to hold back the petitioner (student) from being promoted to a further class, due to low attendance being the major cause.

The present case constitutes the facts that the petitioner a Class VIII student who attended 11 school days out of 207 due to which he was barred for the final examinations but on the order of District Education officer he was allowed to appear for the said examinations. Even after being given permission the petitioner appeared only for 4 subjects out of 6. Further, the petitioner was not promoted to Class IX for the reasons of low attendance, which led to him filing of this Writ Petition.

The contention of the petitioner was that in accordance with the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, right to education is a Fundamental Right under Article 21-A of the Constitution of India and Section 16 specifies the provision that ‘no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education’.

Therefore, the Court on noting the submissions of the petitioner decided that the respondent school is not justified in holding back the petitioner as this case came under the premise of Section 16 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. The High Court also relied on the case of Ka. Kalaikottuthayam v. State of Tamil Nadu, (2010) 5 MLJ 1139. The Court specifically stated that by virtue of Section 16 the petitioner cannot be held back from being promoted to next class. [Master Vatsal Khakhariya v. State of Chhattisgarh,  2018 SCC OnLine Chh 551, order dated 06-07-2018]

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    Failure is the stepping stone for success. Right to free and compulsory education also includes right to quality education. The child has attended only 11 school days so how can you expect that he was clear about his concepts. Failure serves as a deterrent to individual that your efforts are not up-to the mark. With the help of this judgement the child will be promoted but what about next. He may be not able to clear his 9th standard because he lacks basic skills. What kind of education we emphasize under the cloak of RTE act.

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