Analysis of Educational and Cultural Rights in light of Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India

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cultural and educational rights

The Constitution of India gives to its citizens various rights and states the various duties that they should perform as being citizens of India. Article 29 and Article 30 of the Indian Constitution pertain to ‘cultural and educational rights’ which the rights of minorities of the country. ‘Minorities’ in India refers to the notified communities of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis (Zoroastrians) and Jains as stated in Section 2(c) of the National Commission of Minorities Act, 1992.

Article 29 – Protection of Interests of Minorities states:

‘(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.’

Article 30 – Right of Minorities to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions states: ‘(1) All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

[1][(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.’

The statements of the above-mentioned articles are just the tip of the iceberg of bestowing, protecting and administering cultural and educational rights of the notified Indian minorities.

The Preamble of the Constitution of India declares the state to be ‘Secular’ and this word pertains to the religious minorities of the country. Also, the Preamble declares that all citizens are entitled to ‘liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship’ as well as ‘equality of status and of opportunity.’

The main aim of these articles is to provide a better education and to attain secularism in the broader sense by aiding the minorities to raise their level and build a better life. One must keep in mind the socio-economic, political and historical background of the minorities and hence Articles 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution help the minorities and is not a method of furthering the interests of the minorities over the other sections of the society. 

Article 29

This article deals with the protection of the culture, script and language of the minorities of the country. To support this article, enshrined in the Constitution is Article 350A as well. This article states that ‘It shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups; and the President may issue such directions to any State as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provision of such facilities.’

The right to admission into educational institutions which are managed with the help of state of funds is an individual right to which every citizen is entitled to irrespective of the community or class of which the citizen is part. For example, a school run by a minority group, if it is aided by state funds cannot refuse admission to children belonging to other communities but the minority group may reserve up to 50% or more of the seats for the members of their own community in an educational institution established and administered by the same community even if the institution is getting aid from the state. The state is not allowed to restrict the admission of the members of their own communities.

Article 30

Article 30 presents a privilege on all minorities whether they depend on religion or dialect, to build up and oversee the educational establishment of their decision. This decision incorporates various rights which offer assistance to make the object of foundation and organization a significant recommendation. Those rights are to get acknowledgment and association in specific circumstances, to get a monetary guide from State in specific circumstances, to select medium of guideline, to choose administration bodies, to concede understudies, to choose staff, to take disciplinary action and to decide the kind and character of the institution. Despite the fact that none of these rights is explicitly made accessible to minorities, yet every one of them are perceived by the Courts as vital for a significant activity of the main right, the privilege to set up and administer educational institutions.

The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) was established to assist the minorities establish and administer the educational institutions of their choice.

The first interpretation of this article first came up in the case of the Kerala Education Bill Case. In a seven-judge constitution bench, the majority opined that:

a) An institution, in order to be entitled to the protection, need not deny admission to members of other communities.

b) It is not necessary that an institution run by religious minority should impart only religious education or that one run by the linguistic minority should teach language only. Institution imparting general secular education is equally protected. The minority has a right to give “a thorough, good general education”.

c) Grant of aid or recognition to such institution cannot be made dependent on their submitting to such stringent conditions as amount to surrendering their right to administer to them. However, the right to administer does not include the right to misadministration reasonable regulations can be made.

d) Regulation prescribing the qualifications for teachers was held reasonable. Those relating to protection and security of teachers and to reservation in favour of backward classes which covered government schools and aided schools alike, were “perilously near violating that right”, but “at present advised” were held to be permissible regulations. Provision centralizing recruitment of teachers through State Public Service Commission and taking over the collection of fees etc. were held to be destructive of rights of minorities to manage the institutions. 

A review of judicial decisions[2] recommends that “any section of citizens” alluded to in Article 29(1) and religious and linguistic minorities alluded to in Article 30(1) are not indistinguishable groups of persons. Also, the rights to conserve dialect, script or culture ensured in Article 29(1) and the privilege to set up and oversee educational institutions secured under Article 30(1) are most certainly not similar rights.[3]It can be legitimately taken after from the review of judicial decisions of the legal choices that a religious or linguistic minority might set up an educational institution with the sole object of giving a general “common” training completely detached with anything like preservation of dialect, script or culture. The language utilized in Article 29(1) and 30(1) makes these Articles not the same as each other but is different as to their articles and that the dialect of one Article can’t be perused as constraining the extent of the other. A pursuing of the two Articles appears that the privilege to protection of dialect, script or culture is accessible to any segment of natives which term incorporates a ‘minority’.

The Drafting Committee had excluded the utilization of “minority” in the prior part of the Draft of Article 23 relating to the present Article 29, while it had held the word “minority” in the last part of the Draft Article which later turned into the present Article 30. The purpose behind their substitution was very much clarified by Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, who expressed that the change was made to incorporate inside of the term any area of such linguistic and cultural gatherings, for ensuring their dialect, script or culture, who were not minorities in the specialized sense, were minorities nonetheless.[4] What Ambedkar looked to clarify was that the expectation of the Drafting Committee was to widen the extent of Article 29(1) with regards to the persons of inherence in order to bring inside of the assurance of Article 29(1) certain social and linguistic gatherings were generally not politically and truly perceived minorities and in this manner to restrict the rights made accessible under Article 30(1) to those minorities which he depicted as the minorities in the specialized sense, a large portion of whom were spoken to as political minorities in the Constituent Assembly moreover. On the off chance that the privilege of foundation and organization of instructive foundations under Article 30(1) is viewed as being constrained to protection of dialect, script or culture, Article 30(1) would clearly get to be repetitive as the privilege to protection of dialect, script or culture under Article 29(1) is itself sufficiently wide to incorporate inside of its scope a privilege to build up educational institution for conveying this item into impact.

Article 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution, help in the upliftment of the religious and linguistic minorities present in our country today. Although, the wordings of the two articles are similar, the two articles do not imply the same things. The scope of these two articles when read separately or with other precedents is very wide. It is also open to interpretation as to how and to what extent the minority groups can be helped and assisted. The Governement of India has come up with various schemes such as ‘Nai Roshni’ and ‘Mahila Samridhi Yojana’ and has set-up various committees such as the National Commissions for Minorities to help realise a further our founding fathers’ long time goal of equality, liberty and fraternity by helping and uplifting the various sections of our society.

Edited by Dhruval Singh

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Reference

[1] Ins. by the Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978, s. 4 (w.e.f. 20-6-1979).

[2] The Kerala Education Bill, A.I.R. 1958 S.C. 956 (India); W. Proost . State of Bihar, A.I.R. 1969 S.C. 465 (India); Dipendranath Sarkar v State of Bihar, A.I.R 1963 PAT 54 (India); St. Xavier’s College v State of Gujarat, A.I.R. 1974 S.C.1389 (India).

[3] Mohammad Ghouse in Annual Survey of Indian Law, Vol.X| Indian Law Institute, New Delhi (1974).

[4] Constitutional Assembly Debates, Vol. VIII, pp. 922-23.