Minority Educational Institutions

Article 30(1) of the Constitution of India gives linguistic and religious minorities a fundamental right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. These rights are protected by a prohibition against their violation. The prohibition is contained in Article 13 of the Constitution which declares that any law in breach of the fundamental rights would be void to the extent of such violation.

It is well-settled that Article 30(1) can not be read in a narrow and pedantic sense and being a fundamental right, it should be given its widest amplitude. The width of Article 30(1) cannot be cut down by introducing in it considerations which are destructive to the substance of the right enshrined therein. The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act (for short the 'Act') has been enacted to safeguard the educational rights of the minorities enshrined in Article 30(1) of the Constitution.

"Minority Educational Institution" means a college or institution (other than a University) established or maintained by a person or group of persons from amongst the minorities"

Read the full guideline for determining the minority status, recognition, affiliation and related matters in respect of Minority Educational Institutions under the Constitution of India.

Educational Institutions

Posted on September 17, 2014


Controversial "Prevention of Communal And Targeted Violance (Access To Justice And Reparations) Bill, 2011" in dump boxes

The controversial Communal Violence Bill, which has been hanging in the lurch for about a decade now seems to be dumped for now. The bill aimed to protect minorities from targeted attacks but it seems there are few takers of the bill in the country at present.

The bill was drafted in 2010 and with its edits it was redrafted in the present form. The coutry since then has still witnessed communal tensions in several places. The recent Muzaffarnagar riot victims were neither rehabilitated nor the administration was made accountable for the killing of sixty six people. More than fifty thousand were displaced due to riots and are still living in makeshift homes.

The ruling BJP had dubbed the Bill as "anti-majority" while some regional parties felt it violated federal principles. The Bill was also opposed by some states as it sought to empower the central government to send central forces unilaterally in the event of communal disturbances.

The draft bill largely sticks to the provisions in the ´Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011´ prepared by Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council. The bill was first introduced in Rajya Sabha in 2005 and subsequently referred to the Department—related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs. The Committee submitted its report in 2006 to Parliament and notices were given in March 2007, December 2008, February 2009, December 2009 and again in February 2010 in Rajya Sabha for consideration and passing of the Bill. The bill, however, could not be taken up for consideration on any of these occasions.

Thereafter, several suggestions from civil society groups were received and examined. Finally, the NAC said in July 2010 that there was a need to revise the law to deal with communal violence. It worked on a draft bill and submitted it on July 25, 2011 to the Home Ministry.

Officials in the Union Home Ministry and the Law Ministry reportedly have objected to certain clauses of the draft bill, including responsibility of bureaucrats if communal violence erupts, saying "they would come in the way of performing normal duties". The bill also proposes constitution of a body -- National Authority for Communal Harmony, Justice and Reparation -- by the Centre to exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned to it under this Act.

Read the full context of the bill here

Posted on September 04, 2014


Sachar Committee Report: A Report on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community in India.

In March 2005, a high level committee was notified by the Prime Minister's office for preparing a report on the "Social, Economic and Educational Status" of the Muslim community of India. The committee was to collect, consolidate, collate and analyze the report findings to identifyareas for governmental intervention to address relevant issues of social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in the country. The committee filed its report in November 2006.

Observations and Recommendations of the Sachar Committee Report

  1. While there is considerable variation in the conditions of Muslims acrossstates, the community exhibits deficits and deprivation inpractically all dimensions of development.
  2. Mechanisms to ensure equity and equality of opportunity to bring about inclusion should besuch that diversityis achieved and at the same time the perception of discrimination is eliminated.
  3. Creation of a National Data Bank(NDB) where all relevant data forvarious SRCs(Socio religious categories) are maintained is recommended.
  4. An autonomous Assessment and Monitoring Authority (AMA) is needed to evaluate the extent of development benefits which accrue to different SRCs through various programs.
  5. While equity in the implementation of programs and better participation of the community in the development process would gradually eliminate the perception of discrimination, there is a need to strengthen the legal provisions to eliminate such cases.
  6. It is imperative that if the minorities have certain perceptions of being aggrieved, all effort sshould be made by the State to find a mechanism by which the secomplaints could be attended to expeditiously.
  7. The committee recommends that an "Equal Opportunity Commission" (EOC) should be constituted to look into the grievances of the deprived groups.
  8. A carefully conceived 'nomination' procedure should be worked out to increase inclusiveness in governance.
  9. The Committee recommends the elimination of the anomalies with respect to reserved constituencies under the delimitation schemes.
  10. The idea of providing certain incentives to a 'diversity index' should be explored. A wide variety of incentives can be linked to this index so as to ensure equal opportunity to all SRCs in the areas of education, government & private employment and housing.
  11. Relevant functionaries should be sensitive to the need to have diversity and the problems associated with social exclusion.
  12. The committee recommends that aprocess of evaluating the content of the school text books needs to be initiated and institutionalized.
  13. The University Grants Commission(UGC) should been couraged to evolve a system where part of the allocation to colleges and universities is linked to the diversity in the student population.
  14. To facilitate admissions to the 'most backward' amongst all the SRCs in the regular universities and autonomous colleges, alternate admission criteria need to be evolved.
  15. Providing hostel facilities at reasonable costs for students from minorities must be taken up on a priority basis.
  16. Teacher training should compulsorily include in its curriculum components which introduce the importance of diversity / plurality within the country and sensitizeteachers towards the needs and aspirations of "Muslims and other Marginalized" communities.
  17. Given the commitment to provide primary education in the child's mother tongue, the State is required to run Urdu medium schools.
  18. Work out mechanisms whereby Madarsas can be linked with a higher secondary school board so that students wanting to shift to a regular / mainstream education can do soafter having passed from a Madarsa.
  19. Recognition of the degrees from Madarsas for eligibility incompetitive examinations is desirable.
  20. The Committee, recommends promoting and enhancing access to Muslims in Priority Sector Advances.
  21. The real need is of policy initiatives that improve the participation and share of the Minorities, particularly Muslims in the business of regular commercial banks.
  22. It may be desirable to have experts drawn from the Community on relevant interview panels and Boards.
  23. The country is going through a high growth phase. This is the time to help the under privileged to utilize new opportunities through skill development and education.
  24. Provide financial and other support to initiatives built around occupations where Muslims are concentrated and that have growth potential.
  25. The registration of trusts set up by theCommunity, such as Wakf institutions and mosque committees should be facilitated.
  26. Lack of access to crucial infrastructural facilities is another matter of concern for the Muslims.
  27. The issues relating to disparities across socio-religious communities are of atmost importance to our nation today.

Sachar Report - 1     Sachar Report - 2

Posted on May 16, 2014


Observations and Recommendations of RanganathMisra Commission Report: Religious and Linguistic Minorities of India

The commission under the chairmanship of Justice RanganathMisra, constituted by the Ministry of Minority Affairs in October 2004 gave specific recommendations to the government in upgrading the social and economic conditions of the minorities in the nation. That was in May 2007 and till date little has been done in this regard.

At a Glance: Observations and recommendations

  • The commission observes that there has been no indication whatsoeverin the Constitution – either in Article341 or elsewhere – of an intention thatScheduled Castes must remain confinedto any particular religion or religions.Article 341 only empowers the President(read Central Government) to issue theinitial lists of Scheduled Castes and theParliament to amend such lists later. It doesnot even remotely create any caste-religionlink in respect of Scheduled Castes. Sucha link was createdby executive action while issuingthe Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order1950 that prevents Muslims or Christians to be listed as backward communities.
  • And the commission recommends removalof this link by legislative action in terms ofArticle 341.
  • Commission unanimously refutes the contention thatArticle 25 of the Constitution supportsthe view that the Sikh, Buddhist and Jainfaiths are to be regarded as off-shoots of theHindu religion. They rather are of the opinion that the view was based on a misreading ofthat Article and conflicts with the letter andspirit of the Constitution. Accordingly, the claim that it was because of thisintrinsic "support" from the Constitutionthat later on the Scheduled Castes Order 1950 couldbe amended to include Sikhs and Buddhistsamong the Scheduled Castes.
  • The Commission says that it seems that the Scheduled Castes net wasinitially restricted to Hindus for some supra-Constitutional reasons and seeking supportfrom the Constitution for later extending it tothe Sikhs and Buddhists was an afterthought– which, however, is wholly repugnant to theletter and spirit of the Constitution.
  • Para 3 of the Constitution (ScheduledCastes) Order 1950 does not at all speak ofScheduled Castes converting to Christianityor Islam. That a Scheduled Caste Hindu,Sikh or Buddhist on converting to any otherreligion must lose his Scheduled Caste status is only a secondary effect. Its main and more serious effect isthat those sharing even by birth the samecastes as are listed as Scheduled Castes areexcluded from the net only because theyare not Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist. In the opinion of the Commission the effect of Para 3 conflicts with the Constitutional guarantees of equalityof status and opportunity and no religionbaseddiscrimination, therefore, it is recommended to be repeal.
  • The Fundamental Rights of the citizensenshrined in the Constitution are the supreme and overriding part of the Constitution – and this part does insist on complete equality of citizens without any discriminationwhatsoever on religious grounds. The origin of the caste system in a particular religionin the distant past, the egalitarianism ofsome other faith traditions in their originalunadulterated form, and other similarthings cannot be accepted as factors that canbe allowed to prevail over the Constitution'sunconditional emphasis on the equality ofcitizens and non-discrimination betweenthe followers of various religions among thecitizens of India.
  • Recommendations point that in the matterof criteria for identifying backwardclasses there should be absolutely nodiscrimination whatsoever between themajority community and the minorities and, therefore, the criteria now applied forthis purpose to the majority community– whatever that criteria may be – mustbe unreservedly applied also to all theminorities.
  • As a natural corollary to the aforesaidrecommendation all those classes, sections and groupsamong the minorities should be treatedas backward whose counterparts in themajority community are regarded asbackward under the present scheme ofthings.
  • Furthermore all thoseclasses, sections and groups among thevarious minorities as are generally regardedas 'inferior' within the social strata andsocietal system of those communities –whether called 'zat' or known by any othersynonymous expression – should be treatedas backward.
  • To be more specific, the commission recommended that all those social and vocational groupsamong the minorities who but for theirreligious identity would have been coveredby the present net of Scheduled Castesshould be unquestionably treated associally backward, irrespective of whetherthe religion of those other communities recognizes the caste system or not, implying that Muslims or Christians who happen to be deprived of reserved rights for the backward community should be made eligible to attain equality in society.
  • The commission also recommended that those groupsamong the minorities whose counterpartsin the majority community are at presentcovered by the net of Scheduled Tribesshould also be included in that net; andalso, more specifically, members of theminority communities living in any TribalArea from pre-independence days shouldbe so included irrespective of their ethnic characteristics.

Ranganath Misra commission report : Volume-1  |  Volume-2

Posted on May 16, 2014

--- The Indian Minority