[eebill] Fw: SJ Lawyers Meet on 13 Nov re Right to Education Bill 2005

ToI 11.11.05 has a report, p.11: 'Arjun approves Education Bill with no changes' that also says it is to be introduced this session. In the unlikely event that anyone goes for the MIB meet and the even more unlikely event of any discussion on overall architecture of the Bill, pl tell.

From: "Social Jurist" <[email protected]>

Subject: Fw: Right to Education Bill 2005
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2005 09:57:42 +0530


Dear Friend,
In December 2002, Article 21-A has been incorporated in the Constitution of India, which says "21-A. Right to Education-The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine." By the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976, the subject "Education" was brought in the concurrent list from the State list. However, there is no Central Legislation so far on the subject of education particularly in relation to elementary education. A follow up legislation in terms of Article 21-A is a necessity.

As a step in the direction of the follow up legislation, the Central Govt. sometime in July-August, 2003 prepared the first draft of the "Free and Compulsory Education Bill" and the same was placed on the HRD website. The said Bill was widely criticized for being anti-child and lacking in its objectivity and thereafter, on 10th December 2003, the Central Govt. came up with 2nd Draft of the "Free and Compulsory Education Bill". This 2nd draft Bill was again widely criticized for the same reasons and thereafter, on 8th January 2004, the Central Govt. came up with a 3rd draft of the "Free and Compulsory Education Bill". The Social Jurist organized consultative meetings on 1st November 2003, 29th November 2003 and 16th January 2005, to discuss the draft Bill. The Social Jurist team also participated in the consultative meeting held on 15 December 2003 organized by the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) at New Delhi and placed its viewpoint.

With the change of Govt. at the Centre, the UPA Government reconstituted the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). The CABE in its meeting on 10/11 August 2004 decided to set up as many as seven committees to deal with different issues relating to education. One such committee was on the subject of "Free and Compulsory Education Bill" and other issues related to Elementary Education under the Chairmanship of Sh. Kapil Sibal, MOS Science and Technology. The said Committee has now come up with a draft of Right to Education Bill, 2005 and the same has also been posted on the HRD website for public comments. This Bill is most likely coming up in the winter session of the Parliament.

The Central Legislation on free and compulsory education for children would decide the future of education in this country and therefore, it would be a most crucial legislation. There are about 10 Crore children in the age group 6-14 years who are out of school and are engaged in one or the other work. All these children are required to be in school and not at work. The girl child and children with disabilities are the worst sufferers. The government's continuous failure to check child labour and to provide quality education to the children of the masses, are important questions require to be dealt with by this legislation. Social Jurist has been working on the issue of equal opportunity and right to education through PILs, direct interventions and by holding the meetings, etc.

In this backdrop, we as lawyers' group feel our bounded duty to discuss the good and the bad of this draft Bill so to tell the Government to place before the Parliament the Right to Education Bill which really address the issues involved. Amongst other issues, these issues can also be discuss (i) why do lawyers need to serve the Right to Education and how can they be motivated to do so? (ii) Can lawyers use this Bill to protect the right of the child to education? (iii) Which clauses of this Bill are not in the best interest of the child? (iv) What other clauses could be suggested to make the Bill more proactive in protecting the right of the child to education? (v) What should be the role of the private schools to achieve the objectives of the Bill? The Social Jurist is organizing "Lawyers Meet on Right to Education Bill, 2005" on 13th November 2005, at New Delhi. We request you to kindly send us your comments on the draft Bill before 13.11.2005, so that the same could be circulated amongst the participants.

For viewing the Right to Education Bill, 2005 click/paste the link below :

Ashok Agarwal, Advocate Kusum Sharma, Advocate

Advisor, Social Jurist President, Social Jurist

(M) 9811101923 (M) 9818026552

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