Madarsa Education Act Struck Down: Supreme Court Faces Constitutional Challenge

Mainstream
01-Apr-2024
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The recent decision by the Allahabad High Court to declare the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004 unconstitutional has sparked a legal battle as an appeal has been filed before the Supreme Court. The appeal, filed through advocate Sanjeev Malhotra and drawn by advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav, challenges the High Court's ruling, setting the stage for a crucial constitutional debate.

Madrasas, institutions where Islamic studies and other education are pursued, have been at the center of controversy following the High Court's decision. The 2004 Act aimed to empower the Madarsa Education Board by regulating and overseeing the functioning of madrasas, defining the scope of madrasa education to include various branches of learning.

However, the Lucknow bench of the High Court, in its verdict on March 22, deemed the Madarsa Act unconstitutional, citing violations of fundamental constitutional principles. Justices Vivek Chaudhary and Subhash Vidyarthi concluded that the Act infringed upon the principle of secularism enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

"The State has no power to create a Board for religious education or to establish a Board for school education only for a particular religion and associated philosophy. Any such action on the part of the State violates the principles of secularism," the Court stated, emphasizing the need for equality in state actions.

The High Court further highlighted violations of Articles 14, 21, and 21-A of the Constitution and Section 22 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. It directed the state to immediately accommodate students from madrasas in other schools.

The decision has prompted an appeal before the Supreme Court, marking a critical juncture in the debate over religious education and secularism in India. The outcome of the appeal is poised to have far-reaching implications for the regulation of madrasas and the protection of constitutional rights.

As the legal battle unfolds, stakeholders await the Supreme Court's deliberation on the constitutionality of the Madarsa Education Act. The case represents a clash between religious freedoms and constitutional principles, underscoring the complexities of governance in a diverse and pluralistic society like India.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University