The petitioner, a student of Class VIII Delhi Public School, Durg, was not allowed to appear in the examination of the said class by the school authorities. Upon the order of the District Education Officer he was allowed to appear in the examination, however, he only appeared in four papers and he remained absent in two papers. Consequently he was not promoted to class IX by the school authorities and hence the present case.
The present case was adjudicated by a Single Judge Bench of Chhattisgarh High Court comprising of Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal.
It was argued from the petitioner’s side that the right to education up to the age of 14 years is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21A of the Constitution of India and no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education (the education till class eighth). Further the petitioner has regularly appeared in the class but his appearance has not been marked.
It was argued from the Delhi Public School’s side that the writ petition should be dismissed because the petitioner is a “chronic absentee” and has appeared in class only for 11 days out of 207 school days and appeared only in four out of six examination papers.
The Chhattisgarh High Court observed in the present case that the state not only has a duty to provide free and compulsory education to every child but ensure and monitor admission, attendance and completion of elementary education for every child as per the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
The court relied on to a Madras High Court judgement in “Ka.
Kalaikottuthayam v. The State of Tamil Nadu and others” MANU/TN/0804/2010 where the Madras High Court considered Section 16 of the 2009 Act:
“…the promotion to higher class is automatic. Even though the conduct of examination is not prohibited…getting pass marks in number of subjects is not required for giving promotion to higher class. The object behind the said provisions is that no student should leave the school within the age group of 6 to 14 for any reason…”
In lieu of the provisions of the 2009 Act, the court in the present case ruled that it was the duty of the respondent School to ensure the attendance of the students. The court directed the Delhi Public School to certify that the petitioner has completed his elementary education and necessary report card be issued to him within a week from the receipt of the present order.