New Delhi, April 12 - The Supreme Court Thursday upheld the constitutional validity of the right to education (RTE) act that mandates unaided private schools to keep 25 percent seats for students from economically and socially weaker sections of society.
However, the court made it clear that this quota would not be applicable to unaided minority institutions.
The apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice Swatanter Kumar upheld the constitutional validity of Section 12 1C of the RTE act that provides 25 percent reservation for students from weaker sections of society.
However, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan, in a dissenting judgment, held that the mandate under RTE providing for reservation of seats was not constitutionally valid, thus none of the unaided schools, be it majority or minority, could be compelled to earmark 25 percent seats in their institutions for weaker sections.
The court said the judgment will come into force from Thursday itself, but the admissions already made will not be disturbed.
The Supreme Court was giving its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the RTE law that requires private schools to earmark 25 percent seats for poorer students.
A batch of petitions by the Society for Unaided Private Schools, Independent Schools Federation of India and others had contested the provision in the law under which they had to reserve 25 percent seats for economically weaker sections in their schools.
The schools contended that the reservation for children from vulnerable sections of society violated their right to run educational institutions without the state's interference.
The schools' contention that the reservation for poor students would drain their resources was contested by the government.