RIGHT TO EDUCATION AS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT.

Right to education is one the most crucial rights which is mentioned in the universal declarations of human rights (UDHR). Articles 26 of UDHR talks states that every human being should have a right to education. Importantly it also mentions that education shall be free and compulsory for every till the elementary and fundamental stages of life. In addition to that, the article also states that everyone shall have an education mandatorily till the elementary school. The article states that the Education must focus on the complete development of the human personality as well as the reinforcement of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It must encourage understanding, respect, and peace among all nations, races, and religions[1].

Hence, the universal declaration for human rights affirms that right to education is a fundamental human rights. Although, right to education was not previously mentioned in the constitution of India, and it was not regarded as a fundamental right. In addition to that there were numerous precedents stating that right to education should be free and compulsory and should also be construed as a fundamental right. 

In Mohini jain v. state of Karnataka[2] it was observed that “The fundamental rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India including the right to freedom of speech and expression and other rights under , Article 19 cannot be appreciated and fully enjoyed unless a citizen is educated and is conscious of his individualistic dignity.

The ‘right to education’, therefore, is concomitant to the fundamental rights enshrined under Part III of the Constitution. The State is under a constitutional-mandate to provide educational institutions at all levels for the benefit of the citizens. The educational institutions must function to the best advantage of the citizens. Opportunity to acquire education cannot be confined to the richer section of the society”

However, in the Unnikrishnan judgment[3] it was observed that “every citizen of this country has a Right to Free Education until he completes the age of fourteen years. Thereafter, his Right to Education is subject to the limits of economic capacity and development of the State. The Court further ruled that a citizen of this country may have a Right to establish an educational institution but no citizen, person, or institution has a Right much less a Fundamental Right, to affiliation or recognition or grant-in-aid from the State.”

It was further observed in this above mentioned judgment that “ every citizen of this country has a Fundamental Right to Education granted by the Constitution of India. The said Right comes from Article 21 of our Constitution. This Right is, however, is not absolute. Its content and parameters have to be determined under the lights of Article 45 and Article 41 of our Constitution”

After the observations made In mohini jain v. state of Karnataka and Unnikrishnan judgment and Following popular pressure to enforce the right to education, succeeding legislatures began working on a constitutional change to declare education a basic right in 1993. This particular amendment was the 86th amendment made in the Indian constitution, which guaranteed right to education as a fundamental right, and anyone who had been denying an appropriate education to any citizen of India would be infringing their fundamental rights. The 86th amendment of the constitution included

  1. Insertion of a new article in the part III of the Indian constitution as Article 21A, naming “right to education”
  2. Article 21A of the Indian constitution stated that “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.”
  3. Change in directive principles of state policy: Article 45 of the Indian constitution was substituted and it was rightly stated that “The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years”.
  4. Amendment of article 51A– In article 51A of the Constitution, after clause (J), the following clause shall be added, namely “who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.”
  5. No child is liable to pay any kind of fee/ capitation fee/ charges. A collection of capitation fee invites a fine up to 10 times the amount collected.

Hence, it could be safely concluded that the landmark judgements of in mohini jain v. state of Karnataka and Unnikrishnan judgment acted as a lubricant for the succeeding legislatures to make an amendment in the Indian constitution and provide right to education as a fundamental right to every citizen of India. The right to education is extremely essential since it aids in the development of the nation and teaches children the proper standards, values, and so on. Literacy is one of the most crucial aspects for a developing country. Article 21A also benefits a large number of individuals, notably those from the poorer sections of society who cannot afford to take their children to school or provide them with a good education. The use of Article 21A enables them to offer an education for their children as well as a future for themselves.


[1] https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights

[2] MISS MOHINI JAIN VERSUS STATE OF KARNATAKA AND OTHERS LNIND 1992 SC 465

[3] 1993 SCC (1) 645

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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