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Monitoring Cultural And Educational Equity

Abstract:

One of the most debated and discussed topic over the last few decades have to be the reservation system. At time of admission into colleges, government jobs all include this reservation for the minority community. Who are the minority? One of the main questions to be answered before blaming the government or any institutions for the reservation system is this, the minority in our country are people from the community who do not have access to the resources and are often discriminated against and showed down by the people in the society. These people have to be given these protections and reservations only to protect and conserve their culture and tradition if not they will be demolished and demarcated by the majority class of people. The minority community can broadly be classified as linguistic or religious. There is no definition for the term minority as very often the term is decided based on social and economic position and background. Cultural and educational rights are one of the fundamental rights available to the citizens of India. This right is mentioned in Article 29 and 30 of the Indian constitution. India is so diverse in culture and language with each state having a separate culture and language which they practice and speak. Diversity is our strength and it is a necessity to protect it. Thus, one of the fundamental Right drafted was to protect the minority community. These communities have their own language and script and this right enables them to develop those through educational Institutions.

Establishment of minority community educational institutions:

This right gives special interest to the minority community which is the main difference between Article 29 and Article 15 of the constitution. Article 15 is often confused with this as it prohibits discrimination based on race, culture, and religion. But this is generalized and is for the entire country and not for a specific set of people. Whereas Article 29 states to protect the interest of the minorities by making a provision to the citizens or sections of the citizen having a distinct language, script, or culture will have the right to protect it. The right of protection of interest is available only for the citizens whereas the right under Article 30 which provides the minority the right to establish educational institutions is provided to citizens and non-citizens. This right allows them to follow distinct language, script or culture and the right to conserve it. The conservation of their rights is done through or by educational institutions. Article 30 states this right and it is further protected by Article 30(2). In one of the landmark case State of Madras v Champakam Dorairajan[1], an order of Madras government was challenged as it had fixed a proportion of students being enrolled in the state medical college. The petitioners, in this case, were denied admissions only on the basis of caste. The order was held invalid by the supreme court and following this case, Article 15(4) was amended, which made special provisions for the educationally and socially backward classes of the society. Also, Article 29(2) makes it clear that both state-run and state-aided institutions shall not deny admissions on grounds of race, religion, and caste.

Provision and powers under article 30:

Article 31(A) was amended by the 44th amendment of the constitution. The right to property was abolished of being a fundamental right. The removal of this fundamental right made sure that does not cause any hindrance to the minority established and administered the educational institutions. Thus, a new clause was added to the Article stating that the state while making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property mentioned under clause 1 the state shall ensure the fixed amount or as determined by law for acquisition for the property as such that it will not obstruct or abrogate the right guaranteed under the said clause. A line of distinction must be drawn between Article 29(1) and Article 30(1). This can be made clear from the landmark case St Xavier’s college V State of Gujrat 2where the issues raised were if Article 29 and 30 mutually exclusive and the validity of sections 33-A, 40,41, 51-A, 52-A of the Gujrat act 1949 was questioned. The state made a contention that the college was not found for the conservation of language, script or culture. It must be straightened that Article 29 and 30 are different even if they meet with their overall interest.  Article 30 enables the children to be educated. It does not restrict the right of the minorities by not giving them their choice of educational institutions. It does not restrict them from joining only those educational institutions that are built by the minorities and is based on their language and script. The decision in the said case was that article 31-A, 40, 41, 51-A and 52-A will not be applicable to the minorities as it will restrict their fundamental right to establish and manage educational institutions of their choice. The conclusion drawn from the case is that Article 29 and 30 are not mutually exclusive. It is very clear that Article 29 states who the minorities are and about their rights of protecting their language, script, and culture whereas article 30 states to protect their right to manage and establish educational institutions. In Sindraj V state of Gujrat3, it was held that the right to affiliation is not a fundamental right but the government has a set of rules and regulations through which educational institutions gain affiliation. When it comes to the admissions of minorities into unaided educational institutions it must inform that the students from the majority community will also be given admission. In T.M.A Pai Foundation V State of Karnataka4, there were many issues raised. The issues relating to the extent of control by the state on minority institutions, the eligibility, and procedure for the different category of students and questions the availability of the said right were raised, The constitution bench of 11 judges of the supreme court provided answers to the above-mentioned issues and held that- State cannot control admissions of unaided educational institutions managed by minorities, the state can make rules and regulations and the admission procedure must be transparent, any non- minority community person can also establish an educational institution under certain provisions.

Role of the state:

The reservation in private educational institutions has been an issue for a very long time. The topic has been discussed at various levels. Clarity regarding this was gained subsequent to the case Inamdar V State of Maharashtra5, a number of petitions were filed in the court which challenged the setting up of a committee that will make decisions regarding the functioning and fee structure but it was told it would affect the autonomy of the aided minority institutions under Article 30 and Article 19(1)(g). The private institutions could not be forced to make any sort of reservation policy as it would amount to the nationalization of the said institutions by the state. The state cannot influence the admissions of private institutions and also the private institutions were not required to make reservation policies for the minority community claiming it to affect their autonomy. Nonetheless, private institutions had a limited reservation of 15% for the NRI’s and the fees from those students were to be utilized for providing education to economically backward class students. The concept of entrance exam for all students was to avoid exploitation and to ensure merit selection. The present entrance exam scenario is contrary. The private institutions are required to have a reasonable fee structure. The capitation fee must not be collected which is again contradictory to the current happenings. The educational system has become more of profit-making and business whereas the entire concept is just to benefit the society. The reservation system for the minority is a huge benefit for the society as not just the majority community grows and contributes to the economy but even the minority community contributes and grows. Thus, the nation grows. The education institution established by the minority community must be managed also by them only. The state must aid and support these institutions.

Inference:

Nevertheless, these minority community people cannot be given absolute rights; Restrictions must be imposed in matters of education and socio-economic matters. Often, we come to see that in the presence of reservation policy people have started to misuse it and non-meritorious students receive the seats over the meritorious students. There are so many non- minority people who get admission and jobs through reservation policy by claiming minority status. As the term minority has not been defined, it is an advantage to the people belonging to the community. Thus, the people belonging to this community having so many privileges must not exploit or misuse the autonomy and rights given to them. They should strive to form a society where they are equals and both communities uniformly exist and form a well-educated society. In order to form such a society, the state must solemnly safeguard the rights and interests of the minority community.

Case laws:

  1.  AIR 1951 SC 226

  2. AIR 1974 SC 1389

  3. AIR 1963 SC 540

  4. AIR 2003 SC 255

  5. AIR 2005 SC 3236

VAHINI,

SASTRA UNIVERSITY.

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