Cultural and Educational Right in Indian Constitution | Essay for Students and

Cultural and Educational right in Indian constitution

Under the Indian Constitution, cultural and educational rights are guaranteed under Article 29 and 30.

Cultural rights in Indian Constitution

Article 29

Section (1)

It guarantees the right of any section of the citizens residing in any part of the country having a distinct language, script or cultures of its own, to conserve the same.

Section (2)

It prohibits any discrimination based only on religion, race, caste, language or any of them in the matter of admission to State or State-aided educational institutions.

Principles of Article 29

The Bombay High Court held that it embodied two important principles under Article 29:

  • “One is the right of the citizen to select any educational institution maintained by the State and receiving aid out of State funds. The State cannot tell a citizen, ‘you shall go to this school which I maintain and not to the other’. Here we find reproduced the right of the parent to control the education of the child.”
  • To come up for detailed interpretation before the Supreme Court in two cases, both of which were appeals from decisions of the Madras High Court, relating to admission to educational institutions maintained by the State. After analyzing the facts in detail the Court said:

Notices of clauses under Article 29

It protects the language, script or culture of a section of the citizens

It guarantees the fundamental right of an individual citizen. The right to get admission into any educational institution of the kind mentioned.

It is a right which an individual citizen has as a citizen and not as a member of any community or class of citizens.

On the other hand, if he has the academic qualifications but is refused admission only on grounds of religion, race, caste, language or any of them, then there is a clear breach of his fundamental right.”

But the Court rejected this argument on the ground that this was a Directive Principle a non-justiciable right and it could not override a Fundamental Right which was justiciable. It was the duty of the Court to enforce a Fundamental Right.

With the passing of the Forty-second Amendment of the Constitution, this argument of the Court has lost much of its force. According to the Amendment where there is a conflict between a Fundamental Right and Directive Principle, Parliament may by law give precedence to the Directive Principle.

Article 29, enunciates the Fundamental Right of any section of citizens residing anywhere in India to conserve its distinct language, script or culture. No citizen can be denied admission to any educational institution maintained or aided by the state on grounds of language or religion.

Educational rights in Indian Constitution

Article 30

Section (1)

It provides “all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”.

Section (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.

Principles of Article 30

The scope of Article 30 was interpreted at length by the Supreme Court in a Reference made to it by the President.

The subject of the Reference was the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the Kerala Education Bill, 1957, which was submitted to the President for his assent.

  • “What the Article said was that the religious and linguistic minorities should have the right to establish educational institutions of their choice.
  • “It did not say that minorities based on religion should establish educational institutions for teaching religion only, or that linguistic minority should have the right to establish educational institutions for teaching their language only.

What the Article said and meant was that the religious and linguistic minorities should have the right to establish educational institutions of their choice.

Clauses under Article 30

In regard to educational institutions in the first category, he held that by Clause 38 of the Bill, they were prima facie outside the purview of the Bill.

The Anglo-Indian educational institutions in Kerala had, before the passing of the Bill, been receiving grants from the Madras State and also the Travancore-Cochin State. After the formation of Kerala to the bounty continued.

Referring to the argument that no conditions could be imposed in regard to the administration of institutions run by minorities, the Chief Justice said the right to administer could not obviously include the right to maladminister.

“We the people of India,” the Chief Justice said, “had given unto ourselves the Constitution which is not for any particular community or section but for all. Its provisions are intended to protect all, minority as well as majority communities.

There can be no manner of doubt that our Constitution has guaranteed certain cherished rights of the minorities concerned their language, culture, and religion. These concessions must have been made to them for good and valid reasons.”

“So long as the Constitution stands as it is and is not altered, it is, we conceive, the duty of this Court to uphold the fundamental rights and thereby honor the sacred obligations to the minority communities who are of our own.

There were several other decisions of the Supreme Court since 1959 interpreting the scope of Article 29 and 30.

Following are the conclusion has given for us

Articles 29 and 30 create two separate rights although it is possible that they may meet, in a given case.

  • Whether a particular community is a minority or not is to be judged on the basis of the entire population of the area to which the particular legislation applies.
  • A minority can effectively conserve its script, language, and culture by and through the establishment and maintenance of educational institutions of its choice.
  • The language of Article 29 (2) is wide and unqualified and covers all citizens whether they belong to the majority or minority groups.
  • The right of getting admission to an educational institution is a right which an individual citizen has as a citizen and not as a member of a community or class of citizens. Hence this right cannot be denied to citizens on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
  • In the case of a minority based on religion or language, the right to impart instruction in their own institutions to the children of their community in their own language must be protected. In such a case, the power of the State to determine the medium of instruction must yield to the fundamental right of the minority to the extent it is necessary to give effect to the right.
  • The words establish and administer in Article 30 (1) must be read conjunctively and if done so the minority is entitled to the right to administer an educational institution provided the said institution has been established by the minority and not otherwise.
  • The protection implied in Articles 29 and 30 applies not only to educational institutions established after the commencement of the Constitution but also to those established before it.

The rights of the minorities, however, cannot be absolute. They must be subject to restrictions in the interest of education as well as in pursuance of socio-economic objectives embodied in the Constitution.

Article 30 has been criticized, among other things, that the right to establish and administer? Educational institutions of their choice available to the minorities are denied to the majority community.

Also since the term minority has not been defined in the Constitution anywhere and there are advantages in belonging to the minority, groups within the majority Hindu Community have started claiming minority status.

Taking the rights guaranteed under religious, educational and cultural fields as a whole, it will be noted that these are couched in the most comprehensive language, and the maximum possible freedom is guaranteed to the minorities, religious and linguistic.

The Constitution may then be branded as an instrument for the furtherance of the majority community and the language of the majority. Naturally, resentment against such a position would manifest all over the country, as religious minorities live in all states of India and linguistic minorities total not less than 800 million.

Moreover, such a position would have discredited the foundation of the national movement against foreign rule, in which every religious and linguistic minority in India was represented and solemn promises had been made by representatives of the majority community to safeguard the legitimate interests of the minorities against all forms of tyranny in a free India.

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