Right of Government to ensure better education in minority institutions of education.

Whether the provisions, namely, Sections 8, 10, 11 and 12 of the Commission Act are ultra vires and whether these provisions transgress the right of minority institutions guaranteed under the Constitution of India?

“It is difficult to comprehend that the framers of the Constitution would have given such an absolute right to the religious or linguistic minorities, which would enable them to establish and administer educational institutions in a manner so as to be in conflict with the other Parts of the Constitution. ……..The right under Article 30(1) has, therefore, not been held to be absolute or above other provisions of the law, and we reiterate the same. By the same analogy, there is no reason why regulations or conditions concerning, generally, the welfare of students and teachers should not be made applicable in order to provide a proper academic atmosphere, as such provisions do not in any way interfere with the right of administration or management under Article 30(1).”

[Source: Ahmedabad St. Xavier’s College Society vs. State of Gujarat, (1974) 1 SCC 717]

It was further laid down by a Bench of Eleven Judges:

“In other words, the essence of Article 30(1) is to ensure equal treatment between the majority and the minority institutions. ….. Laws of the land, including rules and regulations, must apply equally to the majority institutions as well as to the minority institutions.”

[Source: TMA Pai Foundation vs. State of Karnataka, (2002) 8 SCC 481]

The right under Article 30(1) is not absolute or above the law and that conditions concerning the welfare of the students and teachers must apply in order to provide proper academic atmosphere, so long as the conditions did not interfere with the right of the administration or management.

The West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education Act, 1994 was enacted to establish a Board of Madrasah Education in West Bengal and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. “Madrasah Education” means a system of education in which instruction is imparted in Arabic, Islamic history and culture, and theology.

The legislature has thus taken due care that the interest of a minority institution will always be taken care of by ensuring that i) in normal circumstances, the best qualified and suitable candidates will be nominated by the Commission; ii) and in case there be any error on part of the Commission, the concerned Managing Committee could not only point out the error which would then be rectified by the Commission but the Managing Committee may also be within its rights in terms of Section 12(i) to refuse the nomination on a reasonable ground.

It needs to be clarified that if the minority institution has a better candidate available than the one nominated under a regulatory regime, the institution would certainly be within its rights to reject the nomination made by the authorities but if the person nominated for imparting education is otherwise better qualified and suitable, any rejection of such nomination by the minority institution would never help such institution in achieving excellence and as such, any such rejection would not be within the true scope of the Right protected under Article 30(1) of the Constitution.

[Source: SK. MD. Rafique vs. Managing Committee, contai Rahamania High Madrasah decided by SC on Jan. 6, 2020]

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