Is Funding To Madrasas & Other Religious Educational Institutions by State Consistent With Constitution’s Secular Scheme?: Allahabad High Court Seeks Government Reply

By – Kanvi Gupta

The Bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot while hearing the plea of a Madrasa who is recognized by the Madrasa Board and is aided by the state government to seek the creation of additional posts of teachers in view of an increasing number of students.

The Allahabad High Court recently decided to consider a bunch of questions framed by it on issues related to religious and educational institutions like Madrasa vis-a-vis the role of and interplay between the State Government and such institutions within the framework of the Constitution.

The petitioner challenged the government’s decision to reject representation and application for the creation of the additional posts.

The Court before proceeding with the matter also asked the State Government to bring in the record the syllabus and courses, conditions, and the standards of recognition including the requirement for playgrounds at the Madrasas and all other religious institutions which are recognized or aided by the State Government.

Further, the State Government was asked by the court to disclose whether Madrasas so recognize and aided also to admit girl students.

Prima facie, the Court has formed the following questions for consideration based on the submissions made by the Advocates:

  • Whether the policy of State Government to provide financial aid to the educational institutions which imparts religious is consistent with the constitutional scheme particularly with the relation to the word secular in preamble?
  • Whether the institution imparting imparting the knowledge in the diverse fields also include the courses in theological learning come within the ambit of the phrase “religious instruction or religious worship”?
  • Whether Government’s funding of institutions which are runned by the religious minorities impart religious education faithfully implementing the constitutional protection afforded to all religious faiths especially religious minorities in the country, especially with reference to provisions of the Constitution?
  • Whether absence of playgrounds is incompatible with rights of children?
  • Whether other religious minorities are also provided with government aid?

The Allahabad High Court has also directed the State Government to file a counter affidavit within four weeks.