Several members sought to make amendments so broad-based as to prohibit all institutions, state or state-aided, from discriminating against any person belonging to minority or majority in matter of admission. Patel rejected all of them and said that he only wished to say that this is a simple non-discriminatory clause against the minorities in matter of admission to schools which are maintained by the state. Hence the clause 18 as adopted by the assembly became article 23 of the draft constitution with certain drafting changes. Till this stage the intention of the assembly was to protect ‘minorities’ from being discriminated in mattes of admission. It was only when the draft article was brought before the assembly that a dramatic change took place in this position.
Thus except for a few concession which the assembly admitted for anglo-indians, no other religious minority could secure any political rights. The concession to anglo-indians as finally incorporated in the constitution comprised of provisions authorizing the president not to nominate more that two members of the anglo-indian communit to the house of people if in its opinion that the community was not adequately represented, a similar provision for nomination in the state legislative assemblies, both for the period of 30 years only, a provision for reservation in the post of railways, customs, postal and telegraph services for ten years, the reservation was on the same basis as provided before 1947. Moreover there was a special provision of special education grants for ten years which was available to the community in 1948. The constituent assembly did not concede any political rights to any other minority. What it ultimately conceded turned out to be rights relating to education, language and culture, and came to be incorporated as articles 29 and 30.
Thus the drafting Committee made a distinction between the right of any section of the citizens to conserve its language, script or cultural and the right of a minority based on religion or language to establish and administer educational institutions of its choice, for the Committee replaced the word ‘minority’ with any section in the earliest part of the draft article 23 while it retained the word ‘minority’ in the latter part, While giving an explanation to the said article Ambedkar explaned that It will be noted that the term minority was used therein not in the technical sense of the word ‘minority’ as we have been accustomed to use it for the purpose of certain political safeguards, such as representations in the legislature, representations in the services and so on.
When these recommendations came before the Constituent Assembly on May 1, 1947 for their acceptance, a suggestion came from a member, Mahvir Tyagi that the consideration of the whole problem should be postponed till it was known whether the country was to be partitioned and if so what treatment was to be meted out to the minorities in Pakistan or in any part of India which might organize themselves separately. To this, B.R. Ambedkar said that the minority rights were not relative. They were absolute and not subject to any consideration as to what Pakistan any other party might like to do with minorities within its own jurisdiction.
When this report came to be considered by the Advisory Committee in its meeting held on April 22, 1947, Alladi Krishnaswami objected to clause (i), seeking to protect mother tongue was a matter nobody otherwise also could interfere with K.M. Munshi explaining the reason says that the clause was taken from the minorities rights in the Polish which was later incorporated in the Polish Constitution. He said that attempts were made in Europe and other places to prevent the minorities from using or studying their own language. This right had therefore come to be regarded as a classical right of minorities. In spite of Munshi’s insistence, the clause was deleted. Clauses (II) and (III) were accepted with slight modifications. There was much discussion on Clause (IV) which provided for the right to establish and administer educational institutions and the right to state aid.
Reflecting back on the origin of this article, it is of utmost importance to note that the Sub-Committee on Minorities constituted by the Constituent Assemble Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights and Minorities on 24 February 1947 prepared an interim report which dealt with the question fundamental right from the viewpoint of minorities and was submitted on 19 April 1947.
Articles 29 and 30 of the constitution guarantees some specified and some unspecified rights to these groups of minorities. Right to establish and administer an educational institution of its choice is, for example, a specific right guaranteed to linguistic and religious minorities. Such institutions may be established and administered by any section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture to conserve the same. The latter may also take reasonable steps to preserve the language, script or culture.
Keeping this in mind, the constitution of India makes special provision for the interests of the minorities. Of all the special rights given to the minorities perhaps Article 30(1) hold a very special place for the fact that through education alone minorities can conserve their language, script and cultural heritage. It is the most important factor for the development of man as well as of the society. Even the international law recognizes that education is general human right and also crucial part of minority rights.
Each society is an amalgamation of distinct cultures and religious communities who cherish their identities and rightly wish to preserve them. Correspondingly one can notice the division of population into a majority and several minorities on the basis of religious as well as ethnic cultural communities. Though everyone should have the right to protect, preserve and practice their beliefs, the minorities often feel neglected and looked down upon. Therefore it is essential that for the protection of minority, their distinct religious and cultural identities are preserved. The basic object of such minority protection is to instill confidence in them, create a feeling that they will never be overrun by the majority and to homogenize the pluralities in a civil society and to integrate minorities fully and equally into the national life of the state characterized by the ethos and interest of majority.
India, the largest democracy of the world is a land of religious, cultural and linguistic diversity. Correspondingly we have the division of population into a majority and several minorities on the basis of religious, cultural as well as on linguistic communities.
The basic object of minority protection is to instill confidence in them, create a feeling that they will never be overrun by the majority and to homogenize the pluralities in a civil society and to integrate minorities fully and equally into the national life of the state characterized by the ethos and interest of majority. The term minority occurs only in Articles 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution.