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The Supreme Court held that the state has the right to implement a regulatory system in the national interest to provide well-qualified teachers to minority educational institutions so that they can achieve educational excellence. The verdict claimed that Article 30(1) (the right of minorities to create and administer their choice of educational institutions) was neither absolute nor superseded.

The regulatory law should, however, balance the dual objectives:

  • Secular education
  • Education “directly aimed at or dealing with the preservation and protection of the heritage, culture, script and special characteristics of a minority.”

Legislation formulated in the national interest will necessarily extend to all entities irrespective of whether they are regulated by a majority or a minority because the purpose of Article 30(1) is to ensure fair treatment between the majority and the minority. The court outlined how to strike a "balance" between the two aims of education excellence and the protection of the right of minorities to operate their educational institutions, in order to avoid any compromise in the standard of education.


The judgment came after the 2008 West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act was questioned for validity. This Act required that a Commission, whose decision would be binding, would undertake the process of appointing teachers in government-aided madrasahs.  Madrasahs are recognized as minority institutions. Minority Educational Rights are secured in article 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India that allow minorities to protect their interest and establish educational institutions. 

The Supreme Court reiterated the TMA Pai Foundation case, where the bench of 11 learned judges declared that only the State could decide the status of a religious or linguistic minority and that religious and linguistic minorities, which were put on a par in Article 30, must be considered state-wise. Under Article 30(1), the right cannot be such that it overrides the national interest or prohibits the Government from framing regulations in that term. Every legislation framed in the public interest will automatically extend to all educational institutions, regardless of whether they are run by a majority or minority. Article 30 obviously reads such a restriction.

The court also cited P.A. Inamdar & Ors. vs. State of Maharashtra case, where it delivered a unanimous judgment by 7 judges declaring that the state can’t impose its reservation policy on minority and non-minority unaided private colleges, including professional colleges. Up to the level of undergraduate education, the minority unaided educational institutions enjoy total freedom. The SC ruled that the Act is constitutionally valid and is not in contravention with the articles 29 & 30 of the Constitution of India

Before this, the only decision relating to minority institutions was the exceptional Sobha George case verdict. Kerala High Court delivered the judgment in June 2016 that made Section 16 of the RTE Act is also applicable to minority educational institutions. {No-Detention Policy} Section 16 of the RTE Act requires schools not to detain students before they complete elementary education.

  • Minority
  • Cultural and Educational Rights
  • Chapter III of the Fundamental Rights

BY : Udbhav Bhargava

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