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T.M.A. Pai Foundation v/s State of Karnataka: Right Of Minorities To Establish Educational Institutions

A Bench of 11 judges adjudged the question of the scope of the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice under Article 30(1)[1] read with Article 29(2)[2] of the Constitution.

The judgment dealt with rights of and permissible restrictions under minority (aided and unaided) institutions.

Held:
  1. With respect to a State law, the unit to determine a religious or linguistic minority can only be the State.
  2. Even for a Central law, for the purpose of determining the minority, the unit will be the particular State and not the entire nation.
  3. The question whether followers of a sect of a religion can claim minority status even though that religion is in majority in that particular State, was left unanswered.
  4. The question as to what are the indices to determine an institution as a minority institution, whether the fact that it was established by or is administered by persons belonging to a religious or linguistic minority is determination of its character, was also left unanswered.
  5. Article 30(1) covers professional education because of the words “of their choice”.
  6. Any regulation of national interest applies to all educational institutions, majority or minority.
  7. The right under Article 30(1) is not absolute and thus it shall be governed by the laws of the land and other provisions of the Constitution.
  8. Article 30(2) only means that a minority institution shall not be discriminated against where aid to educational institutions is granted.
  9. For unaided schools and undergraduate colleges, where scope for merit-based selection is practically nil State or University can provide for the qualifications and minimum eligibility conditions. Admission has to be transparent and merit based.
  10. Right to administer is not absolute and regulating measures can be imposed.
  11. An aided minority institution has a right over admitting its minority students on basis of merit.
  12. Right of minorities include right to determine procedure and method of admission and selection of students.
  13. In case of unaided minority institutions, regulatory measures of control by the State should be minimal.
  14. Both aided and unaided minority institutions, management must evolve a rationale procedure for selection of teaching staff and for taking disciplinary action.

End-Notes:
  1. 30. Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions. – (1) All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  2. 29. Protection of interests of minorities. – (2) No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.

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