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Sobha George Adolfus v. State of Kerala and Ors. - (High Court of Kerala) (10 Jun 2016)

Children have right to promotion in minority institution up to elementary level



Applying the ‘best interest’ principle, Kerala High Court granted an elementary school student benefit of Section 16 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 permitting him to move up a grade.

In the instant case, the school was protected from application of the Act by its minority status. Nevertheless, the court questioned if Section 16 of the Act was a “mere statutory right or can be treated as a fundamental right”.

It reiterated norms safeguarding the best interests of children effectively elevated statutory rights under the Act to fundamental rights - capable of being enforced against private minority schools. Moreover, minority institutions could not claim a superior right in terms of the Constitution to deny rights of others. Denial of others’ rights would necessarily require nexus or relation with the object of protection of the minority character of the institution.

The court was of the view that holding a child back from promotion at elementary level would not a ‘right’ of the school protected by the constitution.

Relevant : People's Union for Democratic Rights and others v. Union of India and others MANU/SC/0038/1982 Ahmedabad St. Xavier's College Society and another v. State of Gujarat and Another MANU/SC/0088/1974


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