The Right to Education Act (RTE) is the school reform passed in 2010 which - among others - imposes mandatory free schooling for all children from the ages of 6 to 14.
In particular, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of one of the most controversial sections and that had caused more controversy and questions of constitutionality and that is one that requires all private and public schools have to keep aside 25% seats for children from poor families .
The schools will receive funding from the central government and from the various federal states, although many private schools argue that such funding will not be sufficient to allow free access required by law.
The RTE Act will not apply to those institutions run by minority organisations and which do not receive money as aid either from the government or local bodies.
This exclusion has been criticized by some groups who think it absurd that disadvantaged children within the minority communities also stand to lose by such an exemption.
In its judgment, the Court pointed out that out of the 12,500,755 schools offering elementary education in India, 80.2 per cent were government-run, 5.8 per cent were private aided schools and 13.1 per cent private unaided. Of these, 87.2 per cent of the schools were located in rural areas.
The Court based its verdict on the principle that education is a fundamental right of all children between 6 and 14 years of age.