Allahabad HC to look into state funding of religious institutions like madarsas
The Allahabad high court will consider various issues regarding the state funding of religious educational institutions like madarasas, especially whether the state funding to madrasas and other religious institutions is consistent with the Indian Constitution’s secular scheme.
Hearing the writ petition filed by Madarsa Anjuman Islamia Faizul Uloom and another, Justice Ajay Bhanot directed the state government to file its reply (counter affidavit) within four weeks bringing on record the syllabi/courses, conditions and standards of recognition, including the requirement for playgrounds, at the madrasas and all other religious institutions which are recognized or aided by the state government.
The bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot was hearing the plea of a madarsa duly recognised by the Madarsa Board and aided by the state government. In its plea, the madarsa sought the creation of additional posts of teachers in view of an increasing number of students.
The court passed these directives on August 19 and it came into the public domain on Tuesday. The court directed to put up this case on October 6, 2021, for the next hearing.
The court will also consider whether government funding of religious minorities institutions which impart religious education implements the constitutional protection afforded to all religious faiths, especially religious minorities in the country, with reference to provisions of the Constitution from Articles 25 to 30 (right to freedom of religion).
Also, it will consider whether the institutions which impart knowledge in diverse fields and include courses in theological learning come within the ambit of the phrase “religious instruction or religious worship” or only schools which exclusively impart religious education come within the ambit of Article 28 of the Constitution of India.
Besides, the court will consider as to whether other religious minorities are also provided government aid for running theological schools.
Lastly, the court will also consider as to whether there is a prohibition against women from applying as students in religious schools and, if so, whether such bar is an act of discrimination prohibited by the Indian Constitution.
Article 28 (1) of the Constitution provides that no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of the state funds.
“Further it shall be disclosed whether madrasas so recognized and aided also admit girl students. The state government shall also indicate in its affidavit the details of various other boards of education and institutions imparting theological education of other religious sects,” the court further directed the state to disclose in its affidavit.
Reporter: Jitendra Sarin