State can regulate minority institutions, says Supreme Court

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News:The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act 2008 observing that there is no absolute and unqualified right of appointment for minority educational institutions.

Facts:

Background:

  • The West Bengal Assembly had passed an act called West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act of 2008.
  • The Act mandated that the process of appointment of teachers in aided madrasahs, recognised as minority institutions would be done by a Commission whose decision would be binding.
  • The act was challenged in the apex court on the basis that the act violates Article 30 of the Constitution which deals with the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions. 

About the Supreme Court Judgement:

  • The Court held that the State is well within its rights to introduce a regulatory regime in the national interest to provide minority educational institutions with well-qualified teachers in order for them to achieve excellence in education.
  • The court also applied the principles laid down in the decision in TMA Pai Foundation case.It observed that the provisions of the Act are not transgressing the rights of the minority institutions. 
  • Further,the court also said that the managements of minority institutions cannot ignore a legal regime by saying that it is their fundamental right under Article 30 of the Constitution to establish and administer their educational institutions according to their choice.

Additional information:

About Minority Institutions:

  • Article 30(1) recognizes the linguistic and religious minorities but not those based on race, ethnicity.It provides religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
  • A majority community can also establish and administer educational institution but they will not enjoy special rights under Article 30(1)(a).

Special Rights enjoyed by Minority institutions:

  • Under the Art 30(1)(a), a minority institution enjoy the right to education as a Fundamental Right.But,in case the property is taken over by the state,due compensation to be provided to establish institutions elsewhere.
  • In P.A. Inamdar  Vs. State of Maharashtra case,the court had said that (a)policy of reservation in admission cannot be made applicable to a minority institution and (b)policy of reservation in employment cannot be made applicable to a minority institution.
  • Further,a minority educational institution covered under Article 30(1) of the Constitution including a Madarsa is exempted from the purview of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.
  • In St Stephens’s vs. Delhi University case,1992, the SC has ruled that the minority institution can have approximately 50% of seats reserved for the minorities.
  • In TMA Pai & others vs. State of Karnataka & others 2002 case, the SC ruled that minority institution can have separate admission process which is fair, transparent and merit-based.