Article 29 of Indian constitution talks about Cultural and Educational Rights Protection of interests of minorities.

Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct _ language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.

(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.

(Also read:  Section 125 or Domestic Violence act here )

Article 29 of Indian constitution CLAUSE (1) 



Article 29 of Indian constitution Clause (1)gives the right to every section of the citizens, which has a distinct language, script or culture, to conserve the same. If such sections of citizens desire to preserve their own language, script or culture, the State would not stand in their way. Perhaps residents of a State having different script, language or culture may also object to illegal migration from a neighbouring country resulting in adverse impact on the language, script or culture of that State.

 

A minority community can effectively conserve its language, script or culture by and through educational institutions and, therefore, the right to establish and maintain educational institutions of its choice is a necessary concomitant to the right to conserve its distinct language, script or culture and that is what Article 30(1) confers on all minorities.  “Article 29 of Indian constitution” clause (1), neither controls the scope of Article 30(1) nor is controlled by that article. The scope of the two is different.

 

Article 29 of Indian constitution clause (1) is not confined to minorities but extends to all sections of citizens. Similarly Article 30(1) is not cont fined to those minorities which have a distinct language, script or culture but extends to all religious and linguistic minorities. Further, Article 30(1) gives only the right to establish and administer educational institutions of minorities choice while Article 29(1) gives a very general right to conserve the language, script or culture. Thus the right tinder Article 29(1) may be exercised without establishing educational institutions and the right under Article 30(1) need not be exercised for conserving language, script or culture.

In Iagdev Singh Sidhant v. Pratap Singh Daulta the appellant, who was declared elected to the House of the People, was alleged to have used corrupt practices to promote communal enmity between the Hindu and the Sikh communities prohibited by Section 123(3), Representation of People Act, 1951. Two instances were given by the respondent, a defeated sitting member, in support of his allegations:

 

  • that the appellant by taking help of the Hindi agitation, propagated that the respondent was an enemy of the Arya Samaj and the Hindi language, and

 

  • that the appellant used a religious symbol -a flag called ”Om thaj” -in his meetings. The High Court accepted the contention of the respondent and set aside the election of the appellant. But the Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of the Punjab High Court. As to the first ground, Shah read clause

 

  • of Section 123 in the light of the fundamental right guaranteed in Article 29of the Constitution clause 1. He observed: Right to conserve the language of the citizens includes the right to agitate for the protection of the language. Political agitation for conservation of the language of a section of the citizens cannot therefore be regarded as a corrupt practice within the meaning of Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People Act. Unlike Article 19(1), Article 29 of Indian constitution clause 1 is not subject to any reasonable restrictions.The court also said that the right under Article 29 on Indian constitution clause 1 is absolute?

    Article 29 of Indian constitution CLAUSE (2) 


    Article 29 of Indian constitution Clause (2) relates to admission into educational institutions which are maintained or aided by State funds. No citizen shall be denied admission in such institutions on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them. It may be recalled that Article 15 also prohibits discrimination against citizens on grounds of reli’ gion, etc. But the scope of the two articles is different. Firstly, Article 15(1) protecté citizens only against the State while Article 29 of Indian Constitution clause (2) protects citizens against the State or anybody who denies the right conferred by it. Secondly, Article 15 protects citizens against discrimination generally but Article 29 of indian constitution clause (2) protects only against a particular species of discrimination namely, denial of admission into educational institutions maintained or aided by the State.

 

Finally, the specific grounds on which discrimination is prohibited are not the same in the two articles. ”Place of birth” and “sex” do not occur in Article 29(2), while ”language” is not mentioned in Article 15.

The Madras High Court held that the effect of omitting the word “sex” from Article 29 of Indian Constitution clause (2) is that the right of women to admission in educational institutions is a matter within the regulation of college authorities.35 It is doubtful if that interpretation is still valid. Read with Article 15(3), Article 29(2) may not be availed of by males for seeking admission in an exclusively female institution but its protection cannot be denied to female students in all men’s institution.

Article 29 of Indian constitution clause (2) is a special article and is a controlling provision when the question relates to admission to colleges? The right to admission into an educational institution is a right which an individual citizen has as a citizen and not as a member of any community or class of citizens?7 Hence a school run by a minority, if it is aided by State funds, cannot refuse admission to children belonging to other communities.” In St. Stephen’s College v. University of Delhi (St. Stephen’s College), the court held that a minority community may reserve up to 50 per cent seats for the members of its own community in an educational institution established and administered by it even if the institution is getting aid from the State. Later a divided eleven-judge Bench in T.M.A. Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka (T.M.A. Pai Foundation), while agreeing with the St. Stephen’s College case“, has relaxed the so per cent limit and has held that a reasonable percentage may be fixed by the State in which the minority institution is situated.

In the words of Kirpal CJ 
The best possible way is to hold that as long as the minority educational institution permits admission of citizens belonging to the non-minority class to a reasonable extent based upon merit, it will not be an infraction of Article 29 of Indian Constitution clause (2), even though the institution admits students of the minority group of its own choice for whom the institution was meant.

The State, however, cannot direct minority educational institutions to restrict admission to the members of their own community. A Bombay Government Circular Order directing the schools with English medium to admit only Anglo Indians and citizens of non-Asiatic descent in the classes taught in English language was held ultra vires, because the order denied to all pupils whose mother tongue was not English, admission into any school where the medium of instruction was English.

 

The order would not be valid even if the object for making it is the promotion or advancement of the national language.‘ The court said:

Whatever the object, the immediate ground and direct cause for the denial is that the mother tongue of the pupils is not English. Adopting the language of Lord Thankerton, it may be said that the laudable object of the impugned order does not obviate the prohibition of Article 29 of Indian Constitution clause (2) because the effect of the order involves infringement of this fundamental right, and that effect is brought about by denying admission only on the ground of language.

Article 29 of Indian Constitution” Clause (2), however, does not confer a legal right on the members belonging to other communities to freely profess, practise and propagate their religion within the precincts of a college run by a minority community. Article 29(2) cannot be invoked where refusal of admission to a student is on the ground of his not possessing requisite qualifications or where a student is expelled from an institution for acts of indiscipline.

To overcome court’s interpretation invalidating special provision for admission to weaker sections of the society“8 the Constitution (1st Amendment) Act, 1951, added clause (4) to Article 15 to the effect that nothing in Articles 15 and 29(2) shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any SEBCs of citizens or for the SCs and STs. Accordingly, the State is now empowered to reserve seats in State colleges for any SEBCs of citizens or for the SCs and STs. To overcome similar interpretation“ the Constitution 93rd Amendment has introduced clause (5) in Article 15 which, however, has no reference to Article 29 of Indian Constitution clause (2).

While ordinarily educational institutions established in pursuance of Article 29 of Indian Constitution clause (1) or 30(1) are subject to Article 29(2), they are not so if they do not receive any aid from the State. Therefore, in the matter of admission they are free from the constraints of Article 29(2).

 

The unaided majority institutions do not stand in the same position as the unaided minority institutions. The latter are free to admit students exclusively from the minority community subject to the requirement of merit inter se, while the former may be subjected to any other reasonable restrictions in public interest. On further clarification in RA. Inamdar v. State of Maharashtra”, the court held that neither the policy of reservation can be enforced by the State nor any quota or percentage of admissions can be carved out to be appropriated by the State in a minority or non-minority unaided educational institution.

 

Minority institutions are free to admit students of their own choice including students of non-minority community as also members of their own community from other States, both to a limited extent only and not in a manner and to such an extent that their minority educational institution status is lost.