इंडियन आवाज़     26 Sep 2023 08:38:14      انڈین آواز

Muslims want amendment in RTE Act


NEW DELHI: (AMN) All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIIMM) has demanded amendment in the Right to Education Act, 2010. It wanted exclusion of Muslim Minority Schools and Madrasas from the purview of new Act.


In a statement the president of AAMM, Syed Shahabuddin, said that some provisions of the Act prima facie militate against the educational rights of the minorities in the Constitution under Article30 (1) and also violate the core policies and thrust of the UPA to promote the educational uplift of the Muslim community as priority.


He said that sections 18 and 19 of the Act would hit poor minorities the hardest and would curtail their right even to run already established schools.  “Many madrasahs, schools and colleges which are already running, in towns and villages, will shut their doors and it will be much more difficult for the minority, individuals and organisations, to start educational institutions which normally draw their resources from within the poor community” he underlined. 


He said that the provision also goes against the constitutional right of the minorities and the government policy, that running school should be forced to close down on the mere technicality of not meeting “norms” which are arbitrary in nature.


On 10 November 2009, a Delegation of AIMMM submitted a detail Memorandum to HRD minister Kapil Sibal to felicitate him on the passage of the historic Right to Education Bill and also to point out its various shortcomings & ambiguities which had caused serious misgivings among the people in general and in the Muslim community in particular.            


There is growing unrest and dissatisfaction in the Muslim community about the future of their educational institutions. This statement, not concerned with the general questions raised in the original Memorandum, deals only with two sections, Section-18 & 19, which are of direct relevance to Muslim situation. 


The controversial sections

Section 18 (1) lays down that after the commencement of the Act no private school “be established or function, without obtaining a certificate of recognition from such [local] authority, by making an application in such form and manner, as may be prescribed.” The clause further adds that “no such recognition shall be granted to a school unless it fulfills norms and standards specified under section 19”. Sub-section 3 of the same section adds that even recognized schools will be de-recognised for “contravention of the conditions of recognition” while sub-section 4 of the same section says that such derecognized schools will cease to function from the date of the withdrawal of recognition. Sub-section 5 of the same section defines punishment for “any person who establishes or runs a school without obtaining certificate of recognition, or continues to run a school after withdrawal of recognition” and the stipulated punishment is a fine of one lakh rupees. The sub-section adds that “in case of continuing contraventions, the fine will be ten thousand rupees per day as long as the contravention continued…” Clearly this punishment is draconian, arbitrary and in clear violation of the spirit of the “Right to education” . 

Section (19) States that no school shall be established or recognized “unless it fulfils the norms and standards…”  Under sub-section 2 of Section 19, existing schools are ordered to take steps to fulfill norms and standards at their own expense within a period of three years from the commencement of this law. The same fine as mentioned above in 18(5) is again repeated here under Section 19(5) for any person who continues to run a school after the recognition is withdrawn.  

Though the Act is silent madrasas, it may be interpreted that the madrasas fall under the category of “unaided schools” (section 2, n.iii). It is our submission that madrasas must be kept out of the purview of this Act and children of age group 6-14 studying in madrasas should be considered as bona fide students fulfilling the purpose of the Act. Moreover, the madrasas should not be subject to the norms applicable to “schools” as defined in this bill.  


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