'Make education for under-6 fundamental right'

'Make education for under-6 fundamental right'

The Law Commission has recommended an amendment in the Constitution that will provide every child the fundamental right of care and protection.

The Commission has also recommended constitutional provision for pre-school education to under-6 children.

The Commission has also recommended that every under-6 child should have the unconditional right to crèche and day care. It should be the responsibility of the state, the Commission said.

 It also wants statutory provision for extending maternity leave for 180 days.  “A new Article 24A be inserted to Part III of the Constitution to ensure that the child’s right to basic care and assistance becomes an enforceable right,” the panel said.

“The Article should read as follows: ‘24A. Every child shall have the right to care and assistance in basic needs and protection from all forms of neglect, harm and exploitation’.” Part III of the Constitution contains fundamental rights of the citizen.

“In order to extend the right to education to children in the under-6 age group as well, Article 21A of the Constitution should be amended to read as follows: ‘The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children in such a manner as the State may by law determine’,” the Commission said.

Article 21 of the Constitution gives Right to Education to children between 6 and 14. Similarly, it has recommended that the fundamental duty of the parent or guardian to provide education should not be applicable only to children between the ages of six and fourteen. It has suggested that Article 51 A (k) of the Constitution be amended so that the duty is placed on every citizen.

The Commission said that the Maternity Benefit Act should also be amended to increase maternity benefits from twelve weeks to 180 days. It has recommended that provision of maternity benefits should be made obligatory on the State and not left to the will of the employers and should cover all women, including women working in the unorganised sector.

The panel also wants the government to formulate policy or guidelines laying down minimum specifications of paid maternity leave to women employed in the private sector.

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