Explain the Fundamental Right-Right to Freedom(Article-21A).

Explain the Fundamental Right-Right to Freedom(Article-21A).

Right to Education.

May 24, 2019.

Article 21 A declares that the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such a manner as the state determined. Thus, this provision makes only elementary education a fundamental right and not higher or professional education.

This provision was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002. This amendment is a major milestone in the country’s aim to achieve ‘Education for All’. The government described this step as ‘ the dawn of the second revolution in the chapter of citizens’ rights’.

Even before this amendment, the constitution contained a provision for free and compulsory education for children under Article 45 in part 4. However, being a directive principle, it was not enforceable by the courts. Now, there is scope for judicial intervention in this regard.

This amendment changed the subject matter of Article 45 in directive principles. It now reads-‘ The state shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years’. It also added a new fundamental duty under Article 15A that reads-‘ It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between the age of six and fourteen years’.

In 1993 itself, the Supreme Court recognized a Fundamental Right to primary education in the right to life under Article 21. It held that every child or citizen of this country has a right to free education until he completes the age of 14 years. Thereafter, his right to education is subjected to the limits of economic capacity and development of the state. In this judgment, the court overruled its earlier judgment (1992) which declared that there was a Fundamental Right to education up to any level including professional education like medicine and engineering.

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