Protection of Interests of Minorities

Protection of Interests of Minorities

Updated on 15 June, 2019

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Provisions of article 29

(1) Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same (2) No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.

Relevant Facts for Prelims:

[i] As per Article 29, Minorities are recognized on the basis of: [a] Linguistic Minorities [b] Religious Minorities Remember: There are no caste Minorities. [ii]  Even if an institution is receiving “aid”, then also no citizen shall be denied admission. [iii] An institution not receiving aid is not bound to provide admission to citizens from every community. [iv] The first provision protects the right of a group while the second provision guarantees the right of a citizen as an individual irrespective of the community to which he belongs.

Analysis of article 29

  1. Article 29(1) is not subjected to any reasonable restrictions. The right conferred upon the citizens to conserve their language, Script and culture is made absolute by the Constitution.
  2. In D. A.V College Jullunder v State of Punjab’s case, in question was a legal provision required the Guru Nanak University to promote studies and research in Punjabi language and literature, and to undertake measures for the development of Punjabi language, literature, and culture.
  3. Supreme Court, in this case, upheld the validity of the provision and held that it did not infringe Article 29(1).
  4. Rights given in article 29(2) are available to both minority and majority. It was held In State of Bombay v Bombay Education Society’s Case that limiting the rights conferred under article 29 (2) to a minority only would amount to restricting majority from the educational institutions for which they are paying through taxes.

Article 30 - Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions: (1) All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

(1A) In making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of an educational institution established and administered by a minority, referred to in clause (1), the State shall ensure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for the acquisition of such property is such as would not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed under that clause. (2) The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language. Read Also: A supplement to the Article 14
Analysis of Article 30
  • Benefits under Article 30(1) has been extended to minorities only.
  • A minority can either be a linguistic minority or religious minority. It need not to be both.
Case studies
  • In T.M.A Pai Foundation v State of Karnataka case, it was held that any regulation framed in the national interest must necessarily apply to all educational institutions, whether run by majority or minority.
  • The right under Article 30(1) cannot be such as to override the national interest or to prevent the Government from framing regulations in that behalf.
  • In the case of Azeez Basha v. Union of India, Supreme Court held that is an institution has not been established by minorities then they cannot claim a right to administer it.
  • The words are given in article 30 (1) ‘Establish’ and ‘Administer’ has been read in coordination.
  • It means that only when a minority has established a minority institution, it can claim a right to administer it. But not otherwise.
Case of AMU
In Dr. Naresh Agarwal v. Union of India, In question, was the rule of Aligarh Muslim University, as per which 50% of the seats were reserved for Muslim Candidates. In this case, Allahabad High Court ruled that AMU is not a minority institution as it was not established by minorities thus not protected under article 30 (1) Admission in the minority institutions In St. Stephen’s College v. The University of Delhi, Supreme Court the college’s decision to give preference to the Christians in admission was challenged. IN this case, the Supreme Court held that the right to select students for admission is an important facet of the right of minority institutions to manage their own affairs. A minority college is not bound to follow the university circular, as it will deprive the college of their minority character. In T.M.A Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka case, Supreme Court override the judgment in St. Stephen’s College case. SC held that a minority institution may have its own procedure and method of admission as well as a selection of students but the admission must be based on the merit. The court has now granted the power to the state to fix quotas for minority students. Is Jamia a minority institution? National Commission for Minority Educational Institution (NCMEI) in 2011 declared Jamia Millia Islamia a religious minority institution. In 2018, an affidavit was filed regarding the minority status of Jamia Millia Islamia. In this case too like AMU case, Azeez Basha v. Union of India case was cited by petitioner. Supreme Court, in this case, held that university incorporated under the act of parliament and not established by minorities cannot be claimed as a minority institution. Read More Articles: Individual’s Right to Religion Under Article 25 Article 19 – The Protection of the Certain Rights Regarding Freedom of Speech etc.

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