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Bishops’ body says it may challenge new education law


New Delhi : The Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) Wednesday said it could challenge the new right to education legislation in the court if the government failed to amend it in the next session of parliament.

The CBCI says clause 21 of the education law leaves scope for political interference in running of minority-run educational institutions. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act that guarantees education to children in the age group of six to 14 years was passed by parliament in August.

Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal has clarified that the clause will not apply to minority institutions as it could not override Article 30 of the constitution, which allows minorities to run and administer their own educational institutions.

But CBCI feels this should be clear in the new legislation. “Since it is already a law, it requires an amendment whereby the minority institutions are exempted from the purview of clause 21,” said CBCI spokesperson Babu Joseph.

Clause 21 of the act, that was approved by both houses of parliament earlier this year, says that the managing committee of the educational institutions shall consist of local elected representatives, representative of the teachers and parents.

“Sibal has reportedly agreed that an amendment to the bill (that is now a law) will be introduced in the next session of parliament. Otherwise, we can challenge it in the court,” Babu Joseph told IANS.

A delegation of CBCI had met Sibal in this regard two weeks ago.

The Catholic Church runs more than 30,000 educational institutions in the country.