New Delhi: The Supreme Court order on providing free post matric education to students belonging to financially weak background of Uttar Pradesh is likely to come as a major sign of relief to children who want to pursue professional courses and higher education but are unable to do so because of financial constraints.

Children hailing from a family having an annual income of Rs 2 lakh or less will be provided free of cost post matric education in Uttar Pradesh. The state government will bear the entire educational expenses of such students.

Turning down the plea of UP government, the Supreme Court (SC) set aside the fee deduction order of state government and upheld the Allahabad High Court decision. A bench comprising of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Misra said, “It is good policy which should continue.” The bench turned down the petition filed by state government.

It is worth mentioning that the post matric free education policy has been implemented since 2003 for children belonging to economically weaker section.

Earlier the policy was applicable only for the children belonging to the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes. Later the economically weaker children hailing from general and backward class were included in the scheme.

Prior to 2010, students belonging to family earning less than Rs 1 lakh per annum availed the benefits of the project. Later the stipulated amount limit was extended to Rs 2 lakh.

UP had amended the post matric free education policy in 2008. The government had announced that under the scheme it would provide private colleges the fee for students which would be equivalent to that of a government college.

Medha, a Non-Government Organization had challenged the government order in the HC. Accepting the petition filed by Medha, the HC had annulled the fee deduction order of state government which cited poor financial condition for not implementing the same.

JPN/Bureau