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Minority Rights In The Constitution Of India

Minorities are the groups that exist every where in the world. India is a democratic country. It is difficult to assume any democratic country without any Minority. The definition of minority is not define under The Constitution of India. Minority is a latin word which means "small in number". 2 An Italian Jurist (Francesco Capotorti) defines minority "as a group numerically inferior to the rest of the population".

India is a country of culture, religious and ethical diversity. These diversities bring opportunities to improve the democratic structure. One of the opportunities is in form of Minorities. The Constitution of India empowers Government to make laws and work for the betterment and development of the minorities/minority group.

Minority rights are one of the best tool for development of minority groups. We are going to learn lot about minorities in India and It is important to know who all comes under category of minority.

In India there are 6400 castes, 52 major tribes, 6 main religion, 6 main ethical groups, 18 major languages and 1600 minor languages and dialects .

Article 29, 30, 350A and 350B talks about minority. Article 29 declare any minority as any section of citizen lives in India and have their own distinct language and culture. As our Indian democracy and governance follow the certain ideologies of secularism, pluralism, ethics and multi religion. Secularism policy of India divides states and religion. And these secularism ideologies give rise to the minority rights and safeguarding the interest and development of these groups along with their rights. Indian constitution not consider religion as part of minority group. Where these groups are given rights on the basis of caste and language.

Schedule Tribes (ST), Schedule Caste (SC), Other Backward Classes (OBC) are the parts of minority groups. they are provided with reservations on certain educational institutions and governmental vacancies as the opportunity to grow.

Historical Background behind the protection of minority rights under the Constitution
The Demand for minority rights was first raise in 1934. The Congress party raise the demand in front of constitutional assembly on the basis of universal adult franchise. The Muslim League and The Schedule Caste Federation were in support of the Universal Adult Franchise policy of Congress party.

There were many speeches and debates that were given. The supporters of the Minority Rights said that it is for the safeguard of the Minority. They also argued that it(Minority Right) supports the National Unity, Secularism and Democracy of India and it provide opportunity to minors to grow.

Whereas those who were against the Minority Rights argued that it(Minority Rights) is a policy of 'Divide and Rule' . They also advise minorities to search outside power for protection of their interest .

But the good thing was that majority in Constitution Assembly were in favour of Minority safeguard. Assembly reasoned "Secular state is not a state that denies the importance of religious faith or sought to inculcate skepticism about religious belief among the citizens"

It is important to know Why there is specially need of Rights for Minors. The reason was that minors were facing many problems.

Problem of Identity

  • Inequality
  • Insecurity
  • Lack of representation in Politics and Civil Services
  • Problems of communal Tension and Riots
Due to their different social and cultural practices, they face problem of identity in society. Due to dominance of majorities, minorities have afraid of inequality in their mind. Because of perception of inequality, they always have fear of insecurity. Because of perception of inequality, they feel they are neglected. After Independence, the threat of communal riots has increased on minorities. The Constitution of India provides various Culture and Educational rights under Article 29 and 30. Article 29 protects and conserves the Language, Culture and Script of Minorities. Whereas Article 30 establishes and administers the educational institutions for them.
The Articles for protection of minority and their Interest:
Article 14: This Article talks about 'Right to Equality'. This Article contains 2 things: 'Equality before Law' and 'Equal Protection of Law'.1 This means whether majority group or minority group people all are equal in the eyes of Law. This Article give hope to the minorities that they are also equal and they can live with same respect and opportunity that are with other citizens of people.

2 In one of the judgements Hon'ble Supreme court of India says, "Equality before Law to the some extent is analogous to the concept of 'Rule of Law' by which we can say that no man is above the law of the land and that every person is subject to ordinary law. BUT certain exceptions are recognised to the above rule of law in public interest."

Article 15: This Article prohibits the discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth. This Article satisfy Minority that they are not to be discriminated on the basis of their identity. 3 Place of resistance is not same as place of birth mention in this Article.

Article 29: It is a separate Article for protection of Minorities. This Article gives right to the minorities that they will not denied to get them admission in any educational institute. they are allowed to preserve their distinct language, culture and script.

4 Article 30: This Article allows the minors to establish and administer their own educational institution. Clause 2 of this Article allows them to get aid given by Government without being discriminated by government. If we compare Article 29 and 30, 29 preserve language and culture of minors. Whereas, 30 empowers minors to open their own educational institutes.

The government of India aids the Minority education institutions. It means government provide fund to minor so that he/she can run their institution effectively. Also any other facility to that minors are in need of. Hence, by this government encourage minors to be productive.

The state should not be discriminative while providing aids to minors when they are in need of. If the government do so then they are violating Article 30.

Article 16: It talks about appointments of Minorities in government Vacancies. It is the will of the government to reserve which post for backward classes. It provide the great opportunity for minority to grow. It also solve problem of identity faced by these group. And they can make their own unique identity.

Minority Rights under Article 29 & 30 of the Constitution of India

Article 29 and Article 30 has the wider scope in protecting the interest of minorities. They both are the provisions that are fully consider minority. One talks about preserving culture, language and script of minorities. Other talks about Right to open and administer their own educational institute. The culture, script and language can only be preserve by the educational institutions. Despite being different both the Articles have deep relation with each other.

The case defines the Article 29. This case is Jadgdev Singh Singh Sidhanth v. Pratap Singh Daulta [AIR 1965 SC 183;(1964) 6 SCR 750].In this case Hon'ble Supreme court of India declared that political campaign to protect and preserve any local language are not the corrupt practices

If we come to the next case i.e., D.A.V College, Bhathinda v. State of Punjab & Ors, [AIR 1971 SC 1737] [5 Bench]. This case was against the violation of Article 29. In this case Punjab Government made Punjabi in Gurumukhi script compulsory as whole and sole language for state affiliated It means he is a minor regardless its majority in any state or country

This is a case of Kerala Education Bill, [1959 1 SCR 995]. Kerala Education bill case is similar to the case of D.A.V college case describe

Article 30 does not restrict to open and administer their institution for their own language.

It also allow them to administer or send their children for higher studies with any language they want. It is to be noted that only Minors can claim and exercise these rights.

The Hon'ble court give various judgements for relevant case laws. Also to exercise these rights.

Some of the Landmark Judgements are:
T.M.A Pal Foundation v. State of Karnataka, [(2002)8 SCC 481] [11 Judge Bench]

In this case court declare that private schools and colleges are unaided institution. It also distinguish between the aided and non-aided institution. Court said because state not fund private institution it cannot be held under Article 30(1). So Article 30 is not absolute. The biggest question was can centre as a unit declare any group minor or not.

It was found that minority is decided in a particular state. There population with population of rest of the state.

Article 30 Does not protect political inferiors. While it protect minor section of society.

It is also to be check under Article 30(1) minor's intention (A.P Christian Medical Education Society v. Government of Arunachal Pradesh , 1986)1 . It should also be check whether minors are maintaining their educational rights. (State Of Tamil Nadu v. St. Joseph Teaching Training Institute, 1991).

From the above Article it can be concluded that minority is the low population of any religion or any other basis. The minorities are decided on the basis of population of state they live. Religion is not considered as for distinction between majorities and Minorities. This is because one minority religion in a state can be majority religion on another state.

There is a need for Minority rights because of dominance by Majority on them. There is a sense of insecurity in the mind of Minors. As a result of which they were not able to enjoy their fundamental rights. The SC's, ST's, OBC's, Muslims etc are the example of minority groups of India. No democratic country can be considered Democratic without any minority.

It is the duty of not only India but any Democratic Country to safeguard the interests of minors.

In India, there are many Constitutional provisions like Article 17, 29, 30, 38 ,46, 347 etc. All these provisions are different but they are Inter link with each other.

The supporters of Minority Rights argued that Minority Rights supports the Secularism of India. It is a duty of Government to work for development and protection of their interests.

The Article 29 powers state to preserve 6,400 minor languages spoken in India.

To accomplish the purpose of Minority Rights, Government of India provide reservation to these minority group. The government can not discriminate for granting aids to minority educational institutes. Article 29 and 30 are the main provisions to empower Minority Rights. The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India gave various case laws for the interest of Minorities.

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