From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Minority Rights in India
Mains level : Read the attached story
The right of an institution, whether run by a majority or minority community, to get government aid is not a fundamental right. Both have to equally follow the rules and conditions of the aid, the Supreme Court held in a judgment.
What is the case about?
- The judgment came in an appeal filed by Uttar Pradesh against a decision of the Allahabad High Court to declare a provision of the Intermediate Education Act of 1921 unconstitutional.
Key takeaways from the Judgment
- The SC has clarified that if the government made a policy call to withdraw aid, an institution cannot question the decision as a “matter of right”.
- Whether it is an institution run by the majority or the minority, all conditions that have relevance to the proper utilisation of the grant-in-aid by an educational institution can be imposed.
- All that Article 30(2) states is that on the ground that an institution is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.
- The grant of aid to that educational institution cannot be discriminated against, if other educational institutions are entitled to receive aid.
Basis of the Judgment
- A grant of government aid comes with accompanying conditions.
- An institution is free to choose to accept the grant with the conditions or go its own way.
- If an institution does not want to accept and comply with the conditions accompanying such aid, it is well open to it to decline the grant and move in its own way.
- On the contrary, an institution can never be allowed to say that the grant of aid should be on its own terms, the Bench observed.
Various grounds discussed
The court explained why institutions cannot view government aid as a “matter of right”.
- Government aid is a policy decision: It depends on various factors including the interests of the institution itself and the ability of the government to understand the exercise. Therefore, even in a case where a policy decision is made to withdraw the aid, an institution cannot question it as a matter of right.
- Financial constraints and deficiencies: These are the factors which are considered relevant in taking any decision qua aid, including both the decision to grant aid and the manner of disbursement of an aid.
- Not arbitrary decision: The bench said that a policy decision is presumed to be in public interest, and such a decision once made is not amenable to challenge, until and unless there is manifest or extreme arbitrariness, a Constitutional court is expected to keep its hands off.
Back2Basics: Minority Rights in India
- Article 15: prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion race cast sex or place of birth
- Article 17: prohibits untouchability
- Article 25 provides the right to practice any religion.
- Article 26 allows religious institutions to be opened.
- Article 27 provides that no person shall be forced to pay any taxes which is not mandatory.
- Article 28 provides that there shall be no religious instruction to be followed in any particular educational institutions.
- Article 29 provides that no citizen shall be denied admission in any educational institution on grounds of religion race caste.
- Article 30 provides that minority shall not be prohibited from any educational institutions.