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  1. Education is national wealth essential for the nation’s progress and prosperity-

    P.A. Inamdar & Ors vs State Of Maharashtra & Ors [SC 12 August, 2005]

    Articles 19(1)(g), 29(2) and 30(1): inter-relationship between The right to establish an educational institution, for charity or for profit, being an occupation, is protected by Article 19(1)

    (g). Notwithstanding the fact that the right of a minority to establish and administer an educational institution would be protected by Article 19(1)(g) yet the Founding Fathers of the Constitution felt the need of enacting Article 30. The reasons are too obvious to require elaboration. Article 30(1) is intended to instill confidence in minorities against any executive or legislative encroachment on their right to establish and administer educational institution of their choice. Article 30(1) though styled as a right, is more in the nature of protection for minorities. But for Article 30, an educational institution, even though based on religion or language, could have been controlled or regulated by law enacted under Clause (6) of Article 19, and so, Article 30 was enacted as a guarantee to the minorities that so far as the religious or linguistic minorities are concerned, educational institutions of their choice will enjoy protection from such legislation. However, such institutions cannot be discriminated against by the State solely on account of their being minority institutions. The minorities being numerically less qua non-minorities, may not be able to protect their religion or language and such cultural values and their educational institutions will be protected under Article 30, at the stage of law making. However, merely because Article 30(1) has been enacted, minority educational institutions do not become immune from the operation of regulatory measure because the right to administer does not include the right to mal-administer. To what extent the State regulation can go, is the issue. The real purpose sought to be achieved by Article 30 is to give minorities some additional protection. Once aided, the autonomy conferred by the protection of Article 30(1) on the minority educational institution is diluted as provisions of Article 29(2) will be attracted. Certain conditions in the nature of regulations can legitimately accompany the State aid.

    As an occupation, right to impart education is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g) and, therefore, subject to control by clause (6) of Article 19. This right is available to all citizens without drawing a distinction between minority and non- minority. Such a right is, generally speaking, subject to laws imposing reasonable restrictions in the interest of the general public. In particular, laws may be enacted on the following subjects: (i) the professional or technical qualifications necessary for practicing any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business; (ii) the carrying on by the State, or by a corporation owned or controlled by the State of any trade, business, industry or service whether to the exclusion, complete or partial of citizens or otherwise. Care is taken of minorities, religious or linguistic, by protecting their right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice under Article.

    Article 30(1) speaks of ‘educational institutions’ generally and so does Article 29(2). These Articles do not draw any distinction between an educational institution dispensing theological education or professional or non-professional education. However, the terrain of thought as has developed through successive judicial pronouncements culminating in Pai Foundation is that looking at the concept of education, in the backdrop of constitutional provisions, the professional educational institutions constitute a class by themselves as distinguished from the educational institutions imparting non- professional education. It is not necessary for us to go deep into this aspect of the issue posed before us inasmuch as Pai Foundation has clarified that merit and excellence assume special significance in the context of professional studies. Though merit and excellence are not anathema to non-professional education, yet at that level and due to the nature of education which is more general, merit and excellence do not stand in need of that degree thereof, as is called for in the context of professional education.

  2. The rights under Articles 19(1)(g) and 30 read with Articles 25, 26 and 29(1) of the Constitution of India do not come in the way of securing transparency and recognition of merits in the matter of admissions. It is open to regulating the course of study, qualifications for ensuring educational standards. It is open to imposing reasonable restrictions in the national and public interest.

    The rights under Article 19(1)(g) are not absolute and are subject to reasonable restriction in the interest of the student’s community to promote merit, recognition of excellence, and to curb the malpractices.

    Uniform Entrance Test qualifies the test of proportionality and is reasonable. The same is intended to check several maladies which crept into medical education, to prevent capitation fee by admitting students which are lower in merit and to prevent exploitation, profiteering, and commercialisation of education. The institution has to be a capable vehicle of education. The minority institutions are equally bound to comply with the conditions imposed under the relevant Acts and Regulations to enjoy affiliation and recognition, which apply to all institutions. In case they have to impart education, they are bound to comply with the conditions which are equally applicable to all. The regulations are necessary, and they are not divisive or disintegrative. Such regulatory measures enable institutions to administer them efficiently. There is no right given to maladminister the education derogatory to the national interest. The quality of medical education is imperative to sub­serve the national interest, and the merit cannot be compromised. The Government has the right for providing regulatory measures that are in the national interest, more so in view of Article 19(6) of the Constitution of India.

    1. The rights of the religious or linguistic minorities under Article 30 are not in conflict with other parts of the Constitution. Balancing the rights is constitutional intendment in the national and more enormous public interest. Regulatory measures cannot be said to be exceeding the concept of limited governance. The regulatory measures in question are for the improvement of the public health and is a step, in furtherance of the directive principles enshrined in Articles 47 and 51(A)(j) and enable the individual by providing full opportunity in pursuance of his objective to excel in his pursuit. The rights to administer an institution under Article 30 of the Constitution are not above the law and other Constitutional provisions. Reasonable regulatory measures can be provided without violating such rights available under Article 30 of the Constitution to administer an institution. Professional educational institutions constitute a class by themselves. Specific measures to make the administration of such institutions transparent can be imposed. The rights available under Article 30 are not violated by provisions carved out in Section 10D of the MCI Act and the Dentists Act and Regulations framed by MCI/DCI. The regulatory measures are intended for the proper functioning of institutions and to ensure that the standard of education is maintained and does not fall low under the guise of an exclusive right of management to the extent of maladministration. The regulatory measures by prescribing NEET is to bring the education within the realm of charity which character it has lost. It intends to weed out evils from the system and various malpractices which decayed the system. The regulatory measures in no way interfere with the rights to administer the institution by the religious or linguistic minorities.
  3. In P.A. Inamdar case, apex Court noted the difference between professional and non­professional educational institutions. It observed that professional educational institutions constitute a class by themselves and are distinguished from educational institutions imparting non­ professional education. With respect to unaided minority educational institutions, Article 30 of the Constitution does not come in the way of the State stepping in for the purpose of securing transparency and recognition of merit in the matter of admissions, and the conditions of recognition are binding on such institutions. In P.A. Inamdar (supra), the Court opined that the admissions based on merit were in the national interest and strengthening the national welfare.

  4. In Secretary, Malankara Syrian Catholic College v. T. Jose and Ors., (2007) 1 SCC 386, Court considered T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra), and held that all laws made by the State to regulate the administration of educational institutions and grant of aid will apply to minority educational institutions also, but dilution of right under Article 30 is not permissible. The right under Article 30 is not above the law. The regulations or conditions concerning the welfare of the students and teachers should be made applicable to provide a proper academic atmosphere.

  5.  In Frank Anthony Public School Employees’ Association v. Union of India and others, (1986) 4 SCC 707, question arose whether teachers and other employees working in an unaided school were entitled to same pay­scale, allowances, and benefits. The Court allowed the petition and opined thus:

    “16. The excellence of the instruction provided by an institution would depend directly on the excellence of the teaching staff, and in turn, that would depend on the quality and the contentment of the teachers. Conditions of service pertaining to minimum qualifications of teachers, their salaries, allowances and other conditions of service which ensure security, contentment and decent living standards to teachers and which will consequently enable them to render better service to the institution and the pupils cannot surely be said to be violative of the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 30(1) of the Constitution. The management of a minority Educational Institution cannot be permitted under the guise of the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 30(1) of the Constitution, to oppress or exploit its employees any more than any other private employee. Oppression or exploitation of the teaching staff of an educational institution is bound to lead, inevitably, to discontent and deterioration of the standard of instruction imparted in the institution affecting adversely the object of making the institution an effective vehicle of education for the minority community or other persons who resort to it. The management of minority institution cannot complain of invasion of the fundamental right to administer the institution when it denies the members of its staff the opportunity to achieve the very object of Article 30(1) which is to make the institution an effective vehicle of education.” (emphasis supplied)
    25. In Bihar State Madarasa Education Board, Patna v. Madarasa Hanfia Arabic College, Jamalia and others, (1990) 1 SCC 428, the Court held that minorities have the right to establish and administer educational institution of their own choice. Still, they have no right to maladminister, and the State has the power to regulate the management and administration of such institutions in the interest of educational need and discipline of the institution. The Court held thus:

    “6. The question which arises for consideration is whether Section 7(2)(n) which confers power on the Board to dissolve the Managing Committee of an aided and recognised Madarasa institution violates the minorities constitutional right to administer its educational institution according to their choice. This Court has all along held that though the minorities have right to establish and administer educational institution of their own choice but they have no right to maladminister and the State has power to regulate management and administration of such institutions in the interest of educational need and discipline of the institution. Such regulation may have indirect effect on the absolute right of minorities but that would not violate Article 30(1) of the Constitution as it is the duty of the State to ensure efficiency in educational institutions. The State has, however, no power to completely take over the management of a minority institution. Under the guise of regulating the educational standards to secure efficiency in institution, the State is not entitled to frame rules or regulations compelling the management to surrender its right of administration. In State of Kerala v. Very Rev. Mother Provincial, (1970) 2 SCC 417, Section 63(1) of the Kerala University Act, 1969 which conferred power on the government to take over the management of a minority institution on its default in carrying out the directions of the State Government was declared ultra vires on the ground that the provisions interfered with the constitutional right of a minority to administer its institution. Minority institutions cannot be allowed to fall below the standard of excellence on the pretext of their exclusive right of management but at the same time their constitutional right to administer their institutions cannot be completely taken away by superseding or dissolving Managing Committee or by appointing ad hoc committees in place thereof. In the instant case Section 7(2)(n) is clearly violative of constitutional right of minorities under Article 30(1) of the Constitution insofar as it provides for dissolution of Managing Committee of a Madarasa. We agree with the view taken by the High Court.” (emphasis supplied)
    26. In St. Stephen’s College v. University of Delhi, (1992) 1 SCC 558, concerning admission process adopted by aided minority institutions, various questions were raised thus:

    “41. It was contended that St. Stephen’s College after being affiliated to the Delhi University has lost its minority character. The argument was based on some of the provisions in the Delhi University Act and the Ordinances made thereunder. It was said that the students are admitted to the University and not to the College as such. But we find no substance in the contention. In the first place, it may be stated that the State or any instrumentality of the State cannot deprive the character of the institution, founded by a minority community by compulsory affiliation since Article 30(1) is a special right to minorities to establish educational institutions of their choice. The minority institution has a distinct identity and the right to administer with continuance of such identity cannot be denied by coercive action. Any such coercive action would be void being contrary to the constitutional guarantee. The right to administer is the right to conduct and manage the affairs of the institution. This right is exercised by a body of persons in whom the founders have faith and confidence. Such a management body of the institution cannot be displaced or reorganised if the right is to be recognised and maintained. Reasonable regulations however, are permissible but regulations should be of regulatory nature and not of abridgment of the right guaranteed under Article 30(1).

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