In a landmark judgment that can bring some much needed relief for young students and their parents, the Bombay High Court has ruled that schools cannot conduct common screening test for children before std VIII.
The HC ruled the judgment while hearing a petition filed by a Pune-based school. Comprising of Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Abhay Oka, the division bench hearing the case stated that such tests are illegal, and therefore can be duly cancelled under the RTE (Right to Information) Act.
No screening test for children till class 8, Bombay High Court rules. “Plain meaning (of RTE provisions) is that while admitting a child to the school, the…authorities shall neither collect any capitation fee nor subject the child or his/her parents or guardian to any screening procedure,” the judges stated, the Times of India reports.
Meanwhile, experts are of the opinion that the ruling by the High Court will likely have some far-reaching impact on the educational establishments as a whole- especially when it comes to keeping a strict watch on screening exams conducted by most elite schools.
“If the admissions contemplated by RTE are narrowly construed as admissions only to the nursery or Std I, the very object of enacting (it) shall be defeated,” the court stated while dismissing the petitioner’s plea that the ban on such entrance exams were valid for only nursery and Std I
“There is nothing in (the rules) to indicate that the prohibition of subjecting the students or parents to screening procedure will apply only to the nursery or Std I admissions,” added the judge
The court also said that it was not possible to comply with the petitioner’s request that the violation of these rules be amount to only monetary fines. It urged that once it is found that the admission procedure followed by a school is illegal, education officers can ask the school management to conduct a fresh round of admission.