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PIL in SC Seeks Uniformity in Fundamental Rights to Run Educational Institutions for Hindus Like Minorities

A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre to declare that the fundamental rights granted to minorities like Muslims and Christians to run educational institutions be made available to the majority community also under the Constitution. Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution deal with the rights of the minorities to protect their distinct language, script or culture and provide them, whether based on religion or language, the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

Lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, in his PIL, has made the ministries of Home Affairs, Education, Law and Justice and the Minority Affairs as respondents and sought a direction to them to introduce the Uniform Education Code by declaring that fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 29 (right to conserve script, culture, etc) to minorities are available to all citizens. Direct and declare that Hindus … have similar rights to conserve their language, script and culture like Muslims Christians and Parsis, and State cannot abridge this right, the plea, filed through lawyer Ashwani Dubey, said.

The plea has sought a direction to the Centre to declare that the majority community has similar rights to establish-administer educational institutions of their choice like Muslims Parsis Christians, and State cannot abridge it. Article 30 of the Constitution says that all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

The provision also says: 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. The plea said that Articles 29-30 were brought in the Constitution keeping in view the situation and the after-effects of the religious partition in mind.

These provisions did not mean to prevent the majority Hindu community from establishing Gurukuls and Vedik Schools of their choice, but only to give the minorities an extra layer of protection in case the State tries to impose a majoritarian viewpoint upon them, it said. The plea now seeks extension of similar fundamental rights to the majority community keeping in mind the rights such as equality and protection against discrimination on the grounds of caste, race, language, gender and religion.

Since all citizens have the right to conserve their language script and culture and right to establish-administer educational institutions of their choice and giving this right to only minorities would negate the very purpose of secularism. Therefore, Centre is obligated to introduce a Uniform Education Code in harmonious construction of Articles 29-30 with Articles 14, 15, 16, 19, 21A and Preamble, the plea said.

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