Article 29 of Indian Constitution talks about the protection of minorities in Indian. Any section of the people of India should not denied admission into educational institution which is funded by state or central government of India or will be not discriminate for the aid according to their race, cast, language.
What Article says
Article 29:- Protection of interests of minorities.
- 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.
- No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them
Article 29(1) of Indian Constitution Explanation
- Article 29(1) gives the right to every section of the citizens, which has a distinct language, script or culture, to conserve the same. If such sections of citizens desire to preserve their own language, script or culture, the State would not stand in their way.
- Article 29(1) gives a very general right ”to conserve” the language, script or culture. Thus the right under Article 29(1) may be exercised without establishing educational institutions and the right under Article 30(1) need not be exercised for conserving language, script or culture. Perhaps residents of a State having different script, language or culture may also object to illegal migration from a neighbouring country resulting in adverse impact on the language, script or culture of that State.
- Article 29(1) of Indian Constitution, neither controls the scope of Article 30(1) nor is controlled by that article. The scope of the two is different. Article 29(1) is not confined to minorities but extends to all sections of citizens.
- Similarly Article 30(1) is not com fined to those minorities which have a “distinct language, script or culture” but extends to all religious and linguistic minorities.
Case Laws related to Article 29(1)
In Jagdev Singh Sidhant v. Pratap Singh Daulta the appellant, who was declared elected to the House of the People, was alleged to have used corrupt practices to promote communal enmity between the Hindu and the Sikh communities prohibited by Section 123(3), Representation of People Act, 1951.
Two instances were given by the respondent, a defeated sitting member, in support of his allegations:
- that the appellant by taking help of the Hindi agitation, propagated that the respondent was an enemy of the Arya Samaj and the Hindi language, and
- that the appellant used a religious symbol a flag called ”Om Dhwaj” in his meetings. The High Court accepted the contention of the respondent and set aside the election of the appellant. But the Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of the Punjab High Court. As to the first ground, Justice Shah read clause (3) of Section 123 in the light of the fundamental right guaranteed in Article 29(1) of the Constitution.
Article 29(2) of Indian Constitution
Article 29 of Indian Constitution Clause (2) relates to admission into educational institutions which are maintained or aided by State funds. No citizen shall be denied admission in such institutions on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them. It may be recalled that Article 15 also prohibits discrimination against citizens on grounds of religion, etc.
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But the scope of the two articles is different. Firstly, Article 15(1) protects citizens only against the State while Article 29(2) protects citizens against the State or anybody who denies the right confered by it,
Article 29(2), however, does not confer a legal right on the members belonging to other communities to freely profess, practise and propagate their religion within the precincts of a college run by a minority community.
Article 29(2) cannot be invoked where refusal of admission to a student is on the ground of his not possessing requisite qualifications“ or where a student is expelled from an institution for acts of indiscipline.
Article 15 protects citizens against discrimination generally but Article 29(2) protects only against a particular species of discrimination namely,denial of admission into educational institutions maintained or aided by the State.
Finally, the specific grounds on which discrimination is prohibited are not the same in the two articles. “Place of birth” and “sex” do not occur in Article 29(2), while ”language” is not mentioned in Article 15.
Case Laws related to Article 29(2)
The Madras High Court held that the effect of omitting the word “sex” from Article 29(2) is that the right of women to admission in educational institutions is a matter within the regulation of college authorities.35 It is doubtful if that interpretation is still valid. Read with Article 15(3), Article 29(2) may not be availed of by males for seeking admission in an exclusively female institution but its protection cannot be denied to female students in all men’s institution.
Article 29(2) is a special article and is a controlling provision when the question relates to admission to colleges. The right to admission into an educational institution is a right which an individual citizen has as a citizen and not as a member of any community or class of citizens.” Hence a school run by a minority, if it is aided by State funds, cannot refuse admission to children belonging to other communities.
In St. Stephen’s College v. University of Delhi(St. Stephen’s College), the court held that a minority community may reserve up to 50 per cent seats for the members of its own community in an educational institution established and administered by it even if the institution is getting aid from the State.
Later a divided eleven-judge Bench in T.M.A. Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka (T.M.A. Pai Foundation), while agreeing with the St. Stephen’s College case“, has relaxed the 50 per cent limit and has held that a reasonable percentage may be fixed by the State in which the minority institution is situated.
While ordinarily educational institutions established in pursuance of Article 29(1) or 30(1) are subject to Article 29(2), they are not so if they do not receive any aid from the State. Therefore, in the matter of admission they are free from the constraints of Article 29(2). The unaided majority ‘institutions do not stand in the same position as the unaided minority institutions. The latter are free to admit students exclusively from the minority community subject to the requirement of merit inter se, while the former may be subjected to any other reasonable restrictions in public interest.
BIBLIOGRAPHY- V.N SHUKLA’S CONSTITUTION OD INDIA