NEED FOR EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS OF MINORITIES: CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

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.

However, sub-clause (2) was referred back and the Advisory Committee for clarifying its scope in respect of state-aided institutions. The Advisory committee deleted the word ‘nor shall any religious instruction be compulsorily imposed on them’ for their reason that his had already been included in clause 16.

Several members wanted amendments when the re-drafted sub-clause (20 came up before the Assembly. Ahmad Ibrahim’s suggestion was that the prohibition against discrimination should not be applied to state-aided educational institutions which were primarily established for the benefit of a particular community. Mohanlal Saxena, another member suggested that no aid should be granted to any educational institution which imparted religious unless the syllabus had the approval of the state. This amendment if granted would have greatly affected the autonomy of the institution receiving aid out of state funds. Mrs. Purnima Banerji suggested that within the purview of this clause, should be included state aided institutions so that it becomes obligatory on the institutions not to discriminate against any minority in matters of admission. All the three amendments were disapproved by the assembly on the ground that it was a simple non-discriminatory clause and the extension of the Principle to state-aided institutions was a principle which could be decided by furniture legislation.15

Thus after much discussion article 23 of the draft Constitution read as following:

• Any section of the citizen residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having distinct language, script or

culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.

• No minority whether based on religion, community or language, shall be discriminated against in regard to

admission of any person belonging to such minority into any educational institution maintained by the State.

o All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

o The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.