The prima facie observation made by the Supreme Court on children with special needs to be imparted education not only by special teachers but there have to be special schools for them is not only regressive but also in violation of the principle of inclusive education, right to equality and the legislation for imparting education to children with disability.

The observation made by the Apex court infers segregation of children belonging to one class which indeed is making a classification; the case of Ajay Hasia v. Khalid Mujib Sehravardi, (1981) 1 SCC 722 clearly lays down that if the classification is not reasonable and does not satisfy the following two conditions

  1. that the classification is founded on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from others left out of the group; and
  2. that differentia has a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved by the impugned legislative or executive action, the impugned legislative or executive action would plainly be arbitrary and the guarantee of equality under Article 14 would be breached.

It is pretty much clear that there is no intelligible differentia in the observation and thus lacks the nexus to segregate and create a different institution. The buck not only stops at this, Article 21A of the Indian constitution read with Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 guarantees right to free and compulsory education without any discrimination or segregation.

The Supreme Court has got the intent of the legislation and the interpretation of the law wrong while making this observation. It is in stark contradiction to any law and policy existing on inclusive education. The recently passed act of Rights of Person with Disabilities, 2016 under S.16 mandates the authorities and the government to ensure the funded and recognised educational institutions provide inclusive education and develop infrastructure for the same if not already present. It also mandates the educational institutions to develop adequate human resources and teaching tools for the children with special needs. It is retrograde to the vision of inclusion and India’s international obligation for becoming an all-inclusive education system.

Reference:

  1. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
  2. Rights of Person with Disabilities Act, 2016
  3. Image Source: https://quotefancy.com/robert-h-jackson-quotes

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