On May 29, the Allahabad High Court directed the Registry to register a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for an issue concerning government funding for institutions imparting religious education, such as Madrassas, and whether it violates the Constitution of India. The court has directed the Registry to place the matter before the Chief Justice for appropriate directions or before the appropriate PIL Bench.
The court referred the following issue to the Chief Justice or the PIL Bench: “Whether funding by State Exchequer of institutions imparting religious instructions is violative of Articles 14, 25, 26, 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India?”
On March 27, the court sought a response from the Government of India and the Uttar Pradesh government on whether imparting religious education in government-funded Madrasas violates the Constitution of India. The Single Judge heard Azaj Ahamad’s plea over a salary dispute. Azaj Ahamad is a Madrassa teacher in Samdaniya Islamia, Shudnipur, in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur district. The court observed, “It is not in dispute that in Madarsa, besides normal curriculum, the religious education is also imparted.”
The Allahabad High Court’s Division Bench agreed with the Single Judge’s order wherein he observed that the matter also involved an issue of larger public interest. The court also agreed with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights’ (NCPCR) intervention as the matter involves protecting children’s rights.
“If any issue which has wide ramification concerning the education system as also the rights of children being imparted education and such institutions, there cannot be any quarrel that such issue does involve larger public interest and in this appropriate case if cognizance of such issue apart from the issues concerning the Writ Petitioner, has been taken up by the learned Single Judge, no one can have any objection to the same,” said the court.
“It is in this context only that we find that the learned Single Judge has rightly called upon the Central Government as also the State Government to file their responses not only to the issue raised by the writ petitioner but also to the issue relating to the larger public interest as is reflected from the orders dated 27.03.2023 and 17.05.2023. We have no doubt in our mind, whatsoever, that there is a clear intent in the proceedings of the writ petition that apart from the issue relating to the writ petitioner claiming payment of salary, the issue of larger public interest has also to be considered and agitated,” the court added.
However, the court was deliberating whether the same Judge could further hear the case or the matter must be referred to a PIL Bench. The court relied upon the case of Dinesh Kumar Singh, where the Full Bench held that in such circumstances, the matter has to be placed before the Chief Justice for appropriate directions or before the appropriate PIL bench.
On March 27, the Single Judge of Allahabad High Court sought a response from the Government of India and the Uttar Pradesh government on whether imparting religious education in government-funded Madrasas violates the Constitution of India.
On May 17, the court allowed the NCPCR to intervene. NCPCR Swarupama Chaturvedi’s counsel filed the intervention applications submitted that the education imparted in the Madrassas is not adequate and comprehensive enough, and therefore, the same is against the provisions of the Right to Education Act, 2009.
The application said, “NCPCR has been in receipt of various complaints which state that the right to education of children in recognised #Madrasa is being violated. The fact of not getting a proper education is a violation of the law of the land and a severe injustice to Children.”
Therefore, the court allowed NCPCR to intervene in the case and noted, “The matter is of wide ramification and some importance, and the outcome of this case will affect the education system as well as the rights of the children studying in Madarsas.”