NEED FOR EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS OF MINORITIES: DRAFTING COMMITTEE

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.

The word is used not merely to indicate minority in the technical sense of the word, it is also used to cover minorities which are not minorities in the technical sense, but which are nonetheless minorities in the culture and linguistic sense.17 For instance for the purpose of this article 23, if a number of people from madras came and settled in Bombay for certain purposes they would be, although not a minority in the technical sense, cultural minorities.

Similarly if a certain number of Maharastraian went from Maharastra and settled in Bengal, although they might not be minorities in technical sense, they will be cultural and linguistic minorities in Bengal. The article intends to give protection in the matter of culture, language and script only to a minority technically but also minority might be interpreted  in the narrow sense of the term when the intention of this House……was to use the word minority in much wider sense, so ast o give cultural protection to those who were technically not minorities but minorities nonetheless.

In the draft article two more articles of substantial nature were incorporated. By one amendment the words ‘ language, script and culture’ were replaced by the word ‘ language, script or culture’ in clause (1). The reason for the amendment was discussed by B.N Rao who pointed out that there were sections of people with a separate language and script but with no separate culture. There were also people also people who had separate culture but no separate language and script.

To these he pointed out that the original clause (1) would no afford any protection. He exemplified by saying that the Muslims in Bengal did not differ from the Hindus there in language and script but had a distinct culture of their own, and the Andhras in Orissa had a script and language of their own but not a different culture from the majority of the inhabitants. The other amendment sought to prohibit discrimination against any minority in the matter of admission by the state aided institutions.

When the draft article 23 came up for consideration before the Constituent Assembly, the Assembly witnessed a lot of debate of amendments were moved forward. One of the interesting provision suggested was the effect that any minority having a distinct language and script should be entitled to have primary education imparted to its children through the medium of that language and script.19 But the aforesaid amendments could not be materialized in the face of opposition from different quarters.

Ballabh Pant emphasized that primary education was important and must be made universal. But as it involved huge expenditures and that the state had limited resources what was desirable was that as a first step was to introduce primary education to the large number of illiterates of the country. He said that if there has to be two or three sets of teachers (to teach different languages) the country would not be able to introduce universal primary education or compulsory primary education. Many other also expressed similar views that there were practical difficulties to accept primary education in mother-tongue as a justiciable right.

Ambedkar also said that although it is impart primary education in mother-tongue but it could not be made a fundamental right enforceable through the court of law.20 The draft committee subsequently in the revision state divided article 23 into two separated articles: Article 29 and Article 30.

29(1) Any section of the citizens 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.

(2) No citizen shall be denied admission into any education institution maintained by the state or receiving aid out of state funds on ground only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.

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

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