Minority institutions’ appointments: Supreme Court to examine plea to stay January 6 ruling

A view of the Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi. File  


Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde on Wednesday agreed to examine next week a plea to stay a Supreme Court January 6 judgment, which declared that the State is well within its rights to regulate the appointment of teachers to minority-run institutions in the “national interest”.

The judgment, delivered by a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U.U. Lalit in S.K. Mohd Raffique versus Managing Committee, Contai Rehmania High Madrasah and Others, gave the State an absolute right to impose regulations on minority established and administered institutions in the appointment of teachers, saying the step was necessary to achieve excellence in education in these institutions.

Contai Rehmania Madrasah Committee, represented by senior advocate Salman Khurshid, made an urgent mention that the judgment by the Bench was contrary to the Court’s consistent stand expressed in Constitution Bench decisions like the T.M.A Pai case of 2002 that minorities have a fundamental right under Article 30 of the Constitution to administer their institutions and appoint teachers.

Contai said the Bench had even contradicted a Court judgment as recent as September 25, 2019 that upheld the rights of the minority communities to establish and run their own institutions without government interference in day-to-day affairs of management like the appointment of teachers. The September 25 judgment in Chandana Das (Malakar) versus State of West Bengal was pronounced by a three-judge Bench led by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman.

The petition said the Constitution Bench in the TMA Pai case was clear that “regulatory measures of control should be very minimal” and “matters of day-to-day management like appointment of staff, teaching and non-teaching, and administrative control over them, the management should have the freedom and there should not be any external controlling agency”.

The petition said the judgment segregated a particular community from the privilege of protection under Article 30. It asked what exactly was the “national interest” in regulating the day-to-day functioning of minority educational institutions

The 151-page judgment, authored by Justice Lalit for the Bench, had held that the managements of minority institutions cannot ignore a regulatory regime for appointment of teachers as long as the law ensures the standard of excellence in education.

The January 6 judgment was based on a petition challenging the validity of the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act of 2008. The State Act mandated that the process of appointment of teachers in aided madrasahs, recognised as minority institutions, would be done by a commission and its decision would be binding. Justice Mishra’s Bench had upheld the 2008 Act.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 10:09:17 PM |

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