EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS OF MINORITIES UNDER ARTICLE 30 : A SOURCE OF INEQUALITY

INTRODUCTION

India’s secular ideals are built on the protection of religious and ethnic minorities’ rights. With a history of embracing all faiths, India has always upheld the ideal of equality. From ancient times, India was thought to be a land of minorities, with numerous ethnic, religious, linguistic, and cultural classes. People in India were divided by religious, linguistic, racial, cultural, and socioeconomic factors. One of the most important tasks for the drafters of the constitution was to create a framework that protects a variety of minorities from discrimination and promises to preserve the characteristics that have divided them apart from the rest.

Article 30 (1) promises to all linguistic and religious minorities the ‘right to establish’ and the ‘right to administer’ educational institutions of their own choice. The right is provided by this clause on two types of minorities, namely, religious and linguistic minorities. The right vested in the above minorities is to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The word “establish” indicates the right to bring into existence, while the right to administer an institution means the right to effectively manage and conduct the affairs of the institution. The administration implies management and affairs of the institution. The management must be free of control and restrictions so that the founders of their community can frame the institution as they think fit in correspondence with their views and ideas of how the interest of the community in general and the institution will be delivered. Thus it gives choice to the minority community to establish such educational institutions as it will serve both purposes, that is, the purpose of protecting their religion, language or culture, and also the purpose of giving through general education to their children in their own language.

Article 30 (2) restricts the State from making discrimination in the matter of providing help to any educational institution on the ground that it is managed by a religious minority or linguistic minority.

CLASSIFICATION OF MINORITIES UNDER ARTICLE 30

Religious Minorities
The six community groups existing in India are Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Zoroastrians. These communities have been nominated as minorities by the union government. India is a multi-religious country. Out of these communities some of the community groups are greater in number and they are stated as majority communities. The basic ground for a community to be nominated as a religious minority is the numerical strength of the community. For example, in India, Hindus are the majority community. As India is a multi-religious country, it becomes important for the government to conserve and protect the religious minorities of the country.
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) was established by the government in 1992 to protect the rights and interests of the minority groups.

Linguistic Minorities
Class or group of people whose mother language or mother tongue is different from that of the majority groups is known as the linguistic minorities. The Constitution of India protects the interest of these linguistic minorities.
Article 350-A of the Indian Constitution imposes an obligation on the states to try to provide enough facilities for instruction in the mother language at the primary level of education to children belonging to the linguistic minority community.

According to thirty eighth file of the National Commission of linguistic Minority (NCLM), “there is a language in every state which is spoken by means of the majority of the residents of that state, all other residents who now no longer communicate that majority language belongs to the linguistic minority”.

In S.P. Mittal v. Union of India[1], the community questioned the reasonableness of Auroville (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1980 based on that it was infringing the rights guaranteed under Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India. The Supreme Court stated that the benefit of Article 30 can only be demanded by the religious or linguistic minority community and their organization. Since the Auroville community was not the religious or linguistic minority one and it was established in Pondicherry to spread the ideas and teachings of Sri Aurobindo and mothers through its various centers in India and abroad. Taking over their designation based on their religion does not constitute to the violation of Article 29 and 30.

In D.A.V. College, Bhatinda v. State of Punjab[2], the University ordered that Punjabi would be the one and only medium of instruction in affiliated colleges. The Court held that the right provided to minorities under Article 30 guarantees them to establish and administer educational institutions of their own choice which also includes the right of giving instructions in their own language and the University Circular was directly violating their right to have instructions in Hindi as their own language and therefore infringing the Article 30 (1). A University has the authority to suggest the qualification of their academic staff but the selection and recruitment of teachers remains in the hands of the minority educational institutions.

Article 30 (2) restricts a State from discriminating any type of minority section on the grounds of religion or language in the matter of providing help to any educational institutions run by them.

In Bramchari Sidheswar v. State of West Bengal[3], also called as the Ram Krishna Mission case, it was decided by the Supreme Court that the Ram Krishna Mission was set up by Swami Vivekananda to spread the idea and values of Vedanta as explained by Ram Krishna is not considered as a religion that falls under the minority community and it is not apart from Hindu religion but it is a religious section or a branch of Hindu religion. Therefore they are unable to exercise the fundamental rights provided under Article 30 (1) of the Indian Constitution. Sri Ram Krishna could be considered and recognized as a religious mentor who explained, applied and delivered the concepts and ideas of Vedanta which is the basic block for the foundation of Hindu religion. Three judge bench consisting of Justice Kuldip Singh, Justice N. Venkatachara and Justice S. Saghir Ahmed decided not to consider the judgment passed by the Calcutta High Court which had declared that Ramkrishna Mission is a religion different form the Hindu religion and that’s why should be considered as minority religion in West Bengal.

EXTENT OF GOVERNMENTAL CONTROL OVER MINORITY INSTITUTIONS

Every institution requires a regular check and cooperation among the management of the institution and the Government. As they are having varying interests and motives, as a result classes arises between them. The other reason for clashes among the institution and the Government is the different explanations of Article 29 and 30. The State experiences a doubt on the Minority communities regarding the misuse of the rights provided to them under Article 29 and 30. Control should be there by the Government on the minority institutions otherwise they will misuse their rights and exploit the rights of the other people or employees working under those institutions. Control is also practiced to check the academic status and maintain the standards required in the institutions. The Administration has the power to take disciplinary actions within the institution to control the employees of the institution and make them follow the rules and regulations of the institution. The State has authority to make directive policies and take actions for the welfare of the academic as well as the non-academic staff of the organization. The State is responsible for keeping eye of these institutions for the effective management and proper functioning of the institutions.

But it was held in many cases that Government cannot impose restrictions and cannot interfere in the functioning of the institutions as it will lead to the infringement of the rights of the minorities guaranteed under the Article 30 Indian Constitution.

In the case of TMA PAI v. State of Karnataka[4], the judgment stated was, “…it was suggested that the State does have the right to intervene or make policies or rules or regulations related to the administration of the minority institutions. Particularly the protest was taken to the selection or nomination by the state on the administration of private institutions as well as to provide rights regarding the issue of admission of students, setting up of fee structure and short listing, selecting and appointing faculties by channels of the State.”

The institutions run by the minority communities spreading formal education falls under the formal education system of India. For that reason, the government forms set of rules and regulations for rest private organizations and the same applies to the institutions run by the minority groups unless it is stated differently.

The extent of Article 30  also includes right to recognition and affiliation, which comprises of rights to acquire help in terms of money or finance from the State, right to choose management bodies, staff, and students, and right to pick the content or subject matter of the education. By the clarification of Supreme Court Judgments it can be concluded that these rights are not perfect or complete. Justice Reddy had explained the place or post of these rights. He stated that, “the one and only motive or intention behind the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 30(1) is that the minorities has the authority to bring their institutions into existence, make their own terms and policies, own syllabus and subject matter of the education, to make choice in providing instructions in the subjects, to carry out examinations and award degrees and diplomas. Those institutions exercise the right to obtain acknowledgment to their degrees and diplomas and ask for help where help is provided to the rest educational institutions giving same kind of education on the ground of the merit won by them.”

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF ARTICLE 30

Article 30 provides certain educational rights to minority institutions but also results in disadvantages to the Hindu and other majority institutions. There is no government interference over the management of educational institutions run by the minority community. They have complete control over their institutions and that is the main reason for the misuse of their rights by the minorities. If any malpractice arises among these types of institutions then government is having no right to interfere or control the situation. Article 30 of the Indian constitution releases the minority institutions to maintain the criteria of reserving 25% of the seats for the poor according to Right to Education Act and it is again contradictory to the fundamental rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

Additionally, Clause 1(A) of Article 30 discharges the minority institutions from the obligation to carry out the implementation of the reservation policy for the backward classes and again it infringes the rights of the backward classes as provided by the Indian Constitution. The main purpose behind creation of Article 30 is to make sure the equal treatment of the minorities but now it the situation is reversed and this provision is violating the fundamental rights of the non-minority groups to establish and administer their institutions. Or we can say that it is preventing the non-minority groups to exercise their right of formation and management of their institutions properly.

The one more instance of the discrimination of non-minority institutions is the autonomy of minority groups which exempts them from government control and non-minority groups again has to face the government intervention and control over their institutions. This creates an imbalance between both the communities.

[1] 1983 SCR (1) 729

[2] 1971 SCR (1) 688

[3] 1995 SCC (4) 646

[4] AIR 2003 SC 355

By Vedika Kejriwal,
SLCU, Bangalore.

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