Article 29 & 30 Constitution of India

 

ARTICLE 29 & ARTICLE 30

‘The luminous text of these two constitutional value-kits helps locate the arboreal habitats in the dense forests of multi-colored forms of socio-political life in Indian subcontinent. As a society we are constitutionally committed to reach the shining peaks of egalitarianism where all are bonded by umbilical cord of pure ‘Indian-ness’.

 

Article 29. Protection of interests of minorities

(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

(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.

Analogous Constitutions. This Article corresponds to (i) Article 42(3) of the Constitution of Eire 1937; and (ii) Section 93 of the British North America Act 1867.

 

Scope of Arts. 29-30.– 1. These two articles confer four distinct rights.

  • Right of any Section of citizens of conserve its own language, script or culture [Art.29(1)].
  • Right of all religious or linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice [Art.30(1)].
  • Right of an educational institution not to be discriminated against in the matter of State aid on the ground that it is under management of a minority [Art.30(2)].
  • Right of a citizen not to be denied admission into State-maintained or State-aided educational institution on ground only of religion, race, caste, or language [Art.29(2)].
  1. These rights are conferred on certain ‘sections of the community’ which constitute minority communities.
  2. 29 and 30 are intended to confer protection to minorities rather than a right as such.
  3. Articles 29(2) and 30(1), read together, clearly contemplate a minority institution with a “sprinkling of outsiders” admitted in it. By admitting a member of non-minority into the minority institution, it does not shed its character and cease to be a minority institution. Such “sprinkling” would enable the distinct language, script and culture of a minority being propagated amongst non members of particular minority community and that would indeed better serve the object of conserving the language, religion and culture of that minority.

 

  1. Christian Medical College, Vellore Vs. Union of India, (2014) 2 SCC 305, para 172

“Even with regard to unaided minority institutions, the view is that while the majority of students to be admitted should be from the minority community concerned, a certain percentage of students from other communities should also be admitted to maintain the secular character of education in the country in what has been described as a “sprinkling effect”.”

  1. All Saints High School Vs. Govt. of A.P., (1980) 2 SCC 478, para 99

“The minority institutions have no fundamental right to demand recognition by the State or affiliation by the university but as recognition and affiliation is necessary for the effective exercise of the fundamental right of minorities to establish and administer their institutions, they are entitled to recognition and affiliation if reasonable conditions that are imposed by the government or the university relevant for the purpose of granting recognition or affiliation are complied with.”

  1. Ahmedabad St. Xavier’s College Society Vs. State of Gujarat, (1974) 1 SCC 717, para 12

“The real reason embodied in Article 30(1) of the Constitution is the conscience of the nation that the minorities, religious as well as linguistic, are not prohibited from establishing and administering educational institutions of their choice for the purpose of giving their children the best general education to make them complete men and women of the country.”

  1. Ahmedabad St. Xavier’s College Society Vs. State of Gujarat, (1974) 1 SCC 717, para 8

“The right of establish and administer educational institutions of their choice has been conferred on religious and linguistic minorities so that the majority who can always have their rights by having proper legislation do not pass a legislation prohibiting minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. If the scope of Article 30(1) is made an extension of the right under Article 29(1) as the right to establish and administer educational institutions for giving religious instruction or for imparting education in their religious teachings or tenets, the fundamental right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice will be taken away.”

  1. A.V. College Vs. State of Punjab, (1971) 2 SCC 269, para 10

“A linguistic minority for the purpose of Article 30(1) is one which must at least have a separate spoken language. It is not necessary that language should also have a distinct script for those who speak it to be a linguistic minority. There are in this country some languages which have no script of their own, but nonetheless those sections of the people who speak that language will be a linguistic minority entitled to the protection of Article 30(1).”

Parliament of India enacted The National Commission For Minorities Act 1992 ( Act 19 of I992) with an object of constituting a body for minorities and also to provide for the matters connected therewith and incidental thereto. The functions of the said Commission are enumerated in Section 9. The said section 9 reads as under;

9. Functions of the Commission.—

(1)The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:—

(a) evaluate the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and States;

(b) monitor the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures;

(c) make recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of minorities by the Central Government or the State Governments;

(d) look into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the minorities and take up such matters with the appropriate authorities;

(e) cause studies to be undertaken into problems arising out of any discrimination against minorities and recommend measures for their removal;

(f) conduct studies, research and analysis on the issues relating to socio-economic and educational development of minorities;

(g) suggest appropriate measures in respect of any minority to be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Governments; 4

(h) make periodical or special reports to the Central Government on any matter pertaining to minorities and in particular difficulties confronted by them; and

(i) any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.

(2) The Central Government shall cause the recommendations referred to in clause (c) of sub-section (1) to be laid before each House of Parliament along with a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the Union and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any of such recommendations.

(3) Where any recommendation referred to in clause (c) of sub-section (1) or any part thereof with which any State Government is concerned, the Commission shall forward a copy of such recommendation or part to such State Government who shall cause it to be laid before the Legislature of the State along with a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the State and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any of such recommendation or part.

(4) The Commission shall, while performing any of the functions mentioned in sub-clauses (a), (b) and (d) of sub-section (1), have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular, in respect of the following matters, namely:—

(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;

(b) requiring the discovery and production of any document;

(c) receiving evidence on affidavits;

(d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;

(e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents; and

(f) any other matter which may be prescribed.

The rights of minorities are neither absolute nor constitutionally unfettered. In fact the balance is maintained to favour a socio-economic course of minority-empowerment for a healthier and stronger society. In a recent judgement Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee v Shail Mittal (2020) 13 SCC 433, Hon’ble Bench emphatically expounded four principles which delineate the right of the minorities to govern their educational institutions. Para 23 of the said judgement reads as under;

          ‘The right of the religious and linguistic minorities to administer their educational institutions consist of four principal matters. First is the right to choose its managing or governing body. It is said that the founders of the minority institution have faith and confidence in their own committee or body consisting of persons elected by them. Second is the right to choose its teachers. It is said that minority institutions want teachers to have compatibility with the ideals, aims, and aspirations of the institution. Third is the right not to be compelled to refuse admission to students. In other words, the minority institutions want to have the right to admit students of their choice subject to reasonable regulations about academic qualifications. Fourth is the right to use its properties and assets for the benefit of its own institution.”

 

In the arduous journey of the nation on the path of minority rights, a recent claim of Hindus for grant of Minority status in 9 States of India, pending in Supreme Court, is poised to set another milestone. Under Section 2(C) of The National Commission for Minorities Act 1992, the Minority status is granted by the Central government only. The decision of Supreme Court in the said pending case is likely to prove as a turning point in the political and judicial perspectives about the socio-economic foundations of the Article 29 and article 30 of Constitution of India as a   repository of minority rights.

India represents a civilization that withstood critical turbulence of times over the past millennium. Our ideals, our aspirations and our pursuits remained spiritually-contoured and inwardly-focused and consequently socio-political discourses in India always remained primarily centered on the thesis of ‘Real-Unreal’. Our intellectual and spiritual values enshrined in the texts of the ageless scriptures gloriously emphasize the superficiality of any form of ‘minority-majority’ distinctions; while logically demonstrate the falsity of any discriminatory thought or conduct in the public or private life. Our constitution as a true scripture of polity is a great repertoire of the age-old moral and social values embedded in the copiously nourished subsoil of our great civilization. The jurisprudence underlying these two unprecedented (no reference in Government of India Act or in any analogous provision in other Constitutions) provisions of Constitution of India is seeded and nourished in the philosophical beds of civilizational erudition of India.

Rabindera Nath Tagore so aptly described the core of Indian philosophy in his famous verse;

“None shall be turned away

From the shores of this vast sea of humanity

That is India”

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