ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Safeguarding Educational Rights of Minorities

While the minority status issue of the Aligarh Muslim University is sub judice, the Government of India should not go with the narrow and sectarian outlook that deprives minorities of their fundamental rights. Establishing an institution involves a great deal of physical, emotional and financial burden and labour on the part of the founders and the community at large. The article recalls an array of Supreme Court cases which must not be lost sight of while interpreting the minorities' rights to "establish and administer educational institutions."

Since the time of the Constituent Assembly debates (1946–49), the rights of India’s minorities have been subject to much contestation, claims and counterclaims that are far from settled, despite the fact that the Constitution clearly affirms the cultural, linguistic and educational rights of mino&rities. The right to “establish and administer education institutions” as stated in the Article 30(1) follows the more overarching provisions aimed at protecting the “cultural and educational rights” of minorities as stated in the Article 29(1)(2).

This is also the only time that the Constitution defines minorities and articulates their rights as, “any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.” Further, under Part III, Fundamental Rig&hts, Article 15(1) the Constitution clearly prohibits the state from discriminating against citizens on the grounds of religion, race, caste or class as a way to ens&ure equality before law.

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