Does Assam’s Decision To Close State-Run Madrasas Conform To Indian Constitutional Provisions?
As Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Madrasas cannot run on state-funds, here is a look at some constitutional provisions with regard to the same
Assam ruling party Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has announced that the state’s madrasas, which are Islamic educational institutions, cannot be allowed to run on the government’s money. He said that the state-run madrasas will either be turned into regular schools or closed as a step towards creating uniformity in education. The same applies for at least 100 Sanskrit schools in the region.
Citing reasons of creating equivalence for all students alike, Sarma said that teaching the ‘Quran’ at the expense of the Assam administration cannot continue, adding that if this is the case, then the Bhagvad Gita and the Bible should also be taught alike. According to him, the students of the Madrasas start competing for jobs basis their certificate that is starkly different from the other educational institutions.
This move, to be issued from November has created several debates.
Article 25 of the Indian Constitution says that subject to public order, morality and health, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion. This is followed by Article 26, which gives the right to education to every person, especially in the elementary and fundamental stages, while higher and technical education should be equally accessible to all. Article 27 calls cultural rights inseparable from human rights. While Article 29 secures the interests of minorities in India, Article 30 gives these very minorities the rights to administer and establish educational institutions of their choice.
With the legality of religious institutions clearly chalked out in the nation’s decree book, it remains to be seen how the North-eastern state’s government will plan out the implementation of this controversial decision.
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