THE basic and essential test of the constitutionality, legitimacy and efficacy of any enactment of law passed by the Parliament or any policy formulated or system introduced by the government is that they must be in consonance with the solemn resolves and premises as enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of India as adopted on 26th day of November, 1949. In order to pursue the theme of this piece further and before putting the RTE to this test, it would be worthwhile to recall the contents of the Preamble here.
We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a (Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic) and to secure to all its citizen:
* Justice, social, economic and political;
* Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
* Equality of status and of opportunity; And to promote among all
* Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the (unity and integrity of the Nation)
Similarly, it is incumbent on the courts of the land to uphold these values and to ensure that the judicial process is not abused by vested interests towards the ends which are contrary to these solemn resolves as enshrined in the above Preamble and they do not deliver such judgments that might cut the very roots of what once the Supreme Court of India termed as “the basic structure of the Constitution, whatever it is”.
This fact cannot be overlooked that the genesis of the present RTE Act lies in the Article 45 which was included in the Constitution as one of the Directive Principles by the framers of the Constitution of India. Article 45 explicitly stated that “The State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the Commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.” Thus the objective of universalistaion of elementary education was required to be achieved by the end of the year 1960-61. But it remained unfulfilled till that period.
It may be interesting to recall that it was the time when Jawahar Lal Nehru was at the helm of affairs as the Prime Minister of the country. Whatever may be the excuses, like many failings of Nehru on other fronts including security of the country, the non-fulfillment of this obligation was also a great failure of Nehru’s regime.
Imagine for a moment, if Nehru Government had fulfilled this obligation of providing free and compulsory education to all children upto the age of 14 by 1960-61, no person between the age of 50-60 at present would have been illiterate. But the sad fact is that the Congress Party and its leaders from the very first day of its rule in the country after Independence have never been sincere and serious about this obligation and it has never kept it on its top agenda or accorded top priority to this problem merited with the result that this goal has remained elusive ever and ever. There is no gainsaying the fact that the Congress Party has developed a vested interest in keeping the poor people of this country illiterate and uneducated to keep its hegemony, notwithstanding the enactment of RTE Act which is a great ruse and fraud to befool common people of this country and is nothing short of political slogan mongering and a publicity stunt to dupe the public at large. And there are valid reasons for this contention.
Only, four or five decades back, in 1960s, we had a school system wherein the off springs of a deputy commissioner (the only IAS officer in the district), a peon, a cobbler, a farmer or a lawyer like Shri Sibal sat together side by side on the same bench studying at the same place in a class room. Could anyone at present ever imagine such a non-discriminatory situation in a school today after sixty two years of Independence. This is the worst that the Congress Party and its so-called national leaders, believing in democracy and socialism, have done with the school system in the country. The Congress party and its governments have outrightly ignored the interests of the common people and poor masses since Independence of country.
In this context, I would refer to a letter by Shri Krishna Iyer, former Supreme Court Judge with Left leanings and the President of the NGO Save Education Committee published in the NCR Tribune, February 2, 2002 in which he observed, “Our education system is in grave peril due to three pronged attacks of commercialisation, globalisation and communalisation.”
Obviously, the commercialisa-tion of school education, as encouraged and abetted by the Congress led governments at the Centre in the country, has led to the establishment of an all powerful unholy nexus between the academic mafia of Emergency days, politicians of all hues, bureaucracy of ministry of HRD, corporate world, capitalist at large who have got their vested and selfish interests entrenced in the school system as it obtains today.
The crux of the matter is that the parasitic elite junta as referred to above, aided by the Congress government at the Centre, who pretend to be the votaries of people’s democracy and social justice, have in the last three decades or so, arbitrarily imposed, through their captive institutions, namely NCERT and CBSE, such a cruel, coercive and tyrannical alien parallel system of education on tender aged children that it negates and cut at the roots of the very ideals and premises enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution of India. This is nothing but Talibanisation of school education in the country. This capitalistic blood sucking school system did not exist only three decades back.
The saddest dimension of all this pro-rich and elite game of deception is that the judicial interventions by the courts of the country, whenever sought, particularly in case of the unaided institutions, have given legitimacy and fillip to the commercialisation of school education instead of eliminating or curbing it and have not helped the cause of an egalitarian common system of school education in consonance with the intent or tenets of the Constitution.
The most unfortunate and wicked fact is that many colleagues of Kapil Sibal in the Union Cabinet led by Dr Manmohan Singh, under the Congress led UPA dispensation, have developed vested interest in perpetuating this commercial and corrupt school system exclusively serving the interests of the rich and the feudal elites. Shri Kapil Sibal must come out with the list of those colleagues in the Union Cabinet who are running and managing these unaided private schools charging high fees from children of 6-14 years of age group.
What is being asserted here is that the RTE Act as it has been purported to have been enacted and is designed to be implemented by the Congress led UPA Government and Shri Kapil Sibal & Co. is a segregative, divisive and discriminatory law in the sense that it divides the nation into categories of haves and have-nots and safeguards the interests and rights of the children of the privileged class at the cost of children of crores of the unprivileged and underprivileged deprived families spread all over the country. Thus this act is pro-affluent and anti-poor and anti-common people. This law is of no worth at all unless the commercialisation of education at the elementary level is dismantled and uprooted and the law is applied to every institution, whether aided or unaided, financially dependent or financially independent, without any exception, whatsoever, and every child between age group 6 to 14 is provided free and compulsory education, irrespective of the status or financial position of his or her family. Otherwise, the objective would remain only a pipe dream. In case Shri Sibal & Co. cannot eliminate this discrimination and divisiveness and create an egalitarian common school system in the schooling of children at elementary level, then it is a great fraud on the nation and the Constitution. Can Shri Kapil Sibal guarantee it? If not why go on hoodwinking the people and continue playing on nefarious games on the innocent and helpless poor masses and the destitute with empty promises?
(The writer can contacted at 660/10 Krishna Colony, Gurgaon-122 001 (Haryana))