India is a secular country and the protection of the rights and privileges of the religious as well as the ethnic minorities is the bedrock of country’s secular values. With the majority being Hindu, the Constitution of India specifically upholds certain rights of the minority, and elucidates all the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens of India irrespective of their religion, caste or sex. Article 30 is classified under Part III of the Indian Constitution and upholds the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
Features of Article 30
- Article 30 consists of provisions that safeguard certain rights of the minority community in India keeping in mind the principle of equality.
- Minorities based on religion and languages have the right to establish educational institutions and administer it according to their choice.
- The State has to ensure that the amount required for the acquisition of property does not exceed the budget of the community. Hence, it ensures that the right guaranteed under the clause is not restricted or abrogated.
- Article 30 also has a clause to create a level-playing field. According to the article, the government of the country will not show any discrimination in granting aid to educational institutions run by any minority group irrespective of religion or language.
The Criticism of Article 30
While Article 30 was included along with its various clauses to protect the interests of the ethnic as well as religious minorities in India, it also has certain drawbacks.
The very fact that minorities have the sole control of the educational institutions that they establish implies that the government cannot exercise any control over its formation as well as management. Hence, in case of malpractice, the government will not have the right to intervene and take control of the situation. Article 30 exempts the minority institutions from reserving 25% of its seats for the poor as per Rights to Education Act, which, again, is stark contrast to fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of India.
Moreover, as per Clause 1(A) of Article 30, minority institutions are not under obligation to implement the reservation policy for backward classes. Once again, it revokes the rights of the backwards classes as per the Indian Constitution. While the Article has been created to ensure equal treatment to the minorities, it is in fact denying the non-minority the fundamental right to “establish and administer” their institutions.
While the minority institutions enjoy complete autonomy, the Hindu institutions have to deal with government intervention, which is again discrimination against the non-minority. The Article, while trying to ensure equal rights for all citizens of India, may fuel communal imbalance.
Unfortunately, Article 30 projects a tolerant approach of the government towards the minority and not an encouraging one as it was meant to be. The entire purpose of the Constitution and the ethos of citizenship is lost in the segregation of minority and majority based on Article 30.