Reply To: 52 nd REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER FOR LINGUISTIC MINORITIES IN INDIA

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advtanmoy
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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.