Supreme Court of India
Christian Medical College ... vs Union Of India on 29 April, 2020
19. We first advert to take note that various decisions rendered by this Court in respect of the right of minority as stated under Article 30 of the Constitution of India.
20. In Re The Kerala Education Bill, 1957, AIR 1958 SC 956, question arose concerning right of the Government to prescribe qualification to be possessed by the incumbents for appointment as teachers in aided or recognized schools. The State Public Service Commission was empowered to select candidates for appointment as teachers in Government and aided schools. The Court opined that minority cannot ask for the aid or recognition for an educational institution without competent teachers and fair standards. The choice does not necessarily militate against the claim of the State to insist on reasonable regulations to ensure the excellence of the institutions to be aided or even recognized. The Court held thus:
“(29) Their grievances are thus stated: The gist of the right of administration of a school is the power of appointment, control, and dismissal of teachers and other staff. But under the said Bill such power of management is practically taken away. Thus the manager must submit annual statements (Cl.
5). The fixed assets of the aided schools are frozen and cannot be dealt with except with the permission of the authorised officer (Cl. 6). No educational agency of an aided school can appoint a manager of its choice and the manager is completely under the control of the authorised officer, for he must keep accounts in the manner he is told to do and to give periodical inspection of them and on the closure of the school the accounts must be made over to the authorised officer (Cl. 7). All fees etc. collected will have to be made over to the Government (Cl. 8(3)). Government will take up the task of paying the teachers and the nonteaching staff (Cl. 9). Government will prescribe the qualification of teachers (Cl. 10). The school authorities cannot appoint a single teacher of their choice, but must appoint persons out of the panel settled by the Public Service Commission (Cl. 11). The school authorities must provide amenities to teachers and cannot dismiss, remove, reduce, or even suspend a teacher without the previous sanction of the authorised officer (Cl. 12). …… (31) We are thus faced with a problem of considerable complexity apparently difficult of solution. There is, on the one hand the minority rights under Art. 30(1) to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice and the duty of the Government to promote education, there is, on the other side the obligation of the State under Art. 45 to endeavour to introduce free and compulsory education. We have to reconcile between these two conflicting interests and to give effect to both if that is possible and bring about a synthesis between the two. The directive principles cannot ignore or override the fundamental rights but must, as we have said, subserve the fundamental rights. We have already observed that Art. 30(1) gives two rights to the minorities, (1) to establish and (2) to administer educational institutions of their choice. The right to administer cannot obviously include the right to maladminister. The minority cannot surely ask for aid or recognition for an educational institution run by them in unhealthy surroundings, without any competent teachers, possessing any semblance of qualification, and which does not maintain even a fair standard of teaching or which teaches matters subversive of the welfare of the scholars. It stands to reason, then, that the constitutional right to administer an educational institution of their choice does not necessarily militate against the claim of the State to insist that in order to grant aid the State may prescribe reasonable regulations to ensure the excellence of the institutions to be aided. Learned AttorneyGeneral concedes that reasonable regulations may certainly be imposed by the State as a condition for aid or even for recognition... ...Clauses 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 20 relate to the management of aided schools. Some of these provisions, e.g., 7, 10, 11(1), 12(1)(2)(3) and (5) may easily be regarded as reasonable regulations or conditions for the grant of aid. Clauses 9, 11(2) and 12(4) are, however, objected to as going much beyond the permissible limit. It is said that by taking over the collections of fees etc., and by undertaking to pay the salaries of the teachers and other staff the Government is in reality confiscating the school fund and taking away the prestige of the school, for none will care for the school authority. Likewise Cl. 11 takes away an obvious item of management, for the manager cannot appoint any teacher at all except out of the panel to be prepared by the Public Service Commission which, apart from the question of its power of taking up such duties, may not be qualified at all to select teachers who will be acceptable to religious denominations and in particular subcl. (2) of that clause is objectionable for it thrusts upon educational institutions of religious minorities teachers of Scheduled Castes who may have no knowledge of the tenets of their religion and may be otherwise weak educationally. Power of dismissal, removal, reduction in rank, or suspension is an index of the right of management, and that is taken away by Cl. 12(4). These are, no doubt, serious inroads on the right of administration and appear perilously near violating that right. But considering that those provisions are applicable to all educational institutions and that the impugned parts of Cls. 9, 11 and 12 are designed to give protection and security to the ill paid teachers who are engaged in rendering service to the nation and protect the backward classes, we are prepared, as at present advised, to treat these clauses 9, 11(2) and 12(4) as permissible regulations which the State may impose on the minorities as a condition for granting aid to their educational institutions. We, however, find it impossible to support Cls. 14 and 15 of the said Bill as mere Regulations. The provisions of those clauses may be totally destructive of the rights under Art. 30(1). It is true that the right to aid is not implicit in Art. 30(1) but the provisions of those clauses, if submitted to on account of their factual compulsion as condition of aid, may easily be violative of Art. 30(1) of the Constitution. Learned Counsel for the State of Kerala recognizes that Cls. 14 and 15 of the Bill may annihilate the minority communities' right to manage educational institutions of their choice but submits that the validity of those clauses is not the subject matter of question 2. But, as already explained, all newly established schools seeking aid or recognition are, by Cl. 3(5), made subject to all the provisions of the Act. Therefore, in a discussion as to the constitutional validity of Cl. 3(5) a discussion of the validity of the other clauses of the Bill becomes relevant, not as and by way of a separate item but in determining the validity of the provisions of Cl. 3(5). In our opinion, subcl. 3 of Cl. 8 and Cls. 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 being merely regulatory do not offend Art. 30(1), but the provisions of subcl. (5) of cl. 3 by making the aided educational institutions subject to Cls. 14 and 15 as conditions for the grant of aid do offend against Art. 30(1) of the Constitution.” (emphasis supplied)
21. In Rev. Sidhajbhai Sabhai and Ors. v. State of Bombay and Anr., (1963) 3 SCR 837, the Court again considered the matter and observed that educational institutions cater to the needs of the citizens or section thereof. Regulation made in the real interests of efficiency of instruction, discipline, health, sanitation, morality, public order, and the like may undoubtedly be imposed. Such regulations are not restrictive on the substance of the right, which is guaranteed, they secure the proper functioning of the institution in the matter of education. It was also observed that regulation must satisfy a dual test the test of reasonableness and that it is regulative of the educational character of the institution and is conducive to making the institution a capable vehicle of education for the minority community or other persons who resort to it.
In Rev. Father W. Proost and Ors. v. State of Bihar and Ors., AIR 1969 SC 465, the Court observed thus:
“8. In our opinion, the width of Article 30(1) cannot be cut down by introducing in it considerations on which Article 29(1) is based. The latter article is a general protection which is given to minorities to conserve their language, script, or culture. The former is a special right to minorities to establish educational institutions of their choice. This choice is not limited to institution seeking to conserve language, script, or culture, and the choice is not taken away if the minority community having established an educational institution of its choice also admits members of other communities. That is a circumstance irrelevant for the application of Article 30(1) since no such limitation is expressed and none can be implied. The two articles create two separate rights, although it is possible that they may meet in a given case.”
22. In Ahmedabad St. Xavier's College Society and Anr. v. State of Gujarat and Anr., (1974) 1 SCC 717, a college was run by the minority.
A Bench of 9Judges of this Court considered the question whether Sections 40 and 41 of the Gujarat University Act, 1949 violated Section 30, which provided all colleges within the University area would be governed by the statutes of the University which may provide for minimum educational qualifications for teachers and tutorial staff.
The University may approve the appointments of teachers to coordinate and regulate the facilities provided and expenditure incurred. The Court opined that regulation which serves the interests of the teachers are of paramount importance in good administration, education should be a great cohesive force in developing integrity of the nation, thus:
“19. The entire controversy centres round the extent of the right of the religious and linguistic minorities to administer their educational institutions. The right to administer is said to consist of four principal matters. First is the right to choose its managing or governing body. It is said that the founders of the minority institution have faith and confidence in their own committee or body consisting of persons elected by them. Second is the right to choose its teachers. It is said that minority institutions want teachers to have compatibility with the ideals, aims, and aspirations of the institution. Third is the right not to be compelled to refuse admission to students. In other words, the minority institutions want to have the right to admit students of their choice subject to reasonable regulations about academic qualifications. Fourth is the right to use its properties and assets for the benefit of its own institution.
20. The right conferred on the religious and linguistic minorities to administer educational institutions of their choice is not an absolute right. This right is not free from regulation. Just as regulatory measures are necessary for maintaining the educational character and content of minority institutions, similarly, regulatory measures are necessary for ensuring orderly, efficient, and sound administration. Das, C.J., in the Kerala Education Bill case (supra) 1959 SCR 995: AIR 1958 SC 956, summed up in one sentence the true meaning of the right to administer by saying that the right to administer is not the right to maladminister.
30. Educational institutions are temples of learning. The virtues of human intelligence are mastered and harmonised by education. Where there is complete harmony between the teacher and the taught, where the teacher imparts and the student receives, where there is complete dedication of the teacher and the taught in learning, where there is discipline between the teacher and the taught, where both are worshippers of learning, no discord or challenge will arise. An educational institution runs smoothly when the teacher and the taught are engaged in the common ideal of pursuit of knowledge. It is, therefore, manifest that the appointment of teachers is an important part in educational institutions. The qualifications and the character of the teachers are really important. The minority institutions have the right to administer institutions. This right implies the obligation and duty of the minority institutions to render the very best to the students. In the right of administration, checks, and balances in the shape of regulatory measures are required to ensure the appointment of good teachers and their conditions of service. The right to administer is to be tempered with regulatory measures to facilitate smooth administration. The best administration will reveal no trace or colour of minority. A minority institution should shine in exemplary eclectism in the administration of the institution. The best compliment that can be paid to a minority institution is that it does not rest on or proclaim its minority character.
31. Regulations which will serve the interests of the students, regulations which will serve the interests of the teachers are of paramount importance in good administration. Regulations in the interest of efficiency of teachers, discipline, and fairness in administration are necessary for preserving harmony among affiliated institutions.
46. The ultimate goal of a minority institution too imparting general secular education is advancement of learning. This Court has consistently held that it is not only permissible but also desirable to regulate everything in educational and academic matters for achieving excellence and uniformity in standards of education.
47. In the field of administration it is not reasonable to claim that minority institutions will have complete autonomy. Checks on the administration may be necessary in order to ensure that the administration is efficient and sound and will serve the academic needs of the institution. The right of a minority to administer its educational institution involves, as part of it, a correlative duty of good administration.
90. We may now deal with the scope and ambit of the right guaranteed by clause (1) of Article 30. The clause confers a right on all minorities, whether they are based on religion or language, to establish and administer educational instructions of their choice. The right conferred by the clause is in absolute terms and is not subject to restrictions, as in the case of rights conferred by Article 19 of the Constitution. The right of the minorities to administer educational institutions does not, however, prevent the making of reasonable regulations in respect of those institutions. The regulations have necessarily to be made in the interest of the institution as a minority educational institution. They have to be so designed as to make it an effective vehicle for imparting education. The right to administer educational institutions can plainly not include the right to maladminister. Regulations can be made to prevent the housing of an educational institution in unhealthy surroundings as also to prevent the setting up or continuation of an educational institution without qualified teachers. The State can prescribe regulations to ensure the excellence of the institution. Prescription of standards for educational institutions does not militate against the right of the minority to administer the institutions. Regulations made in the true interests of efficiency of instruction, discipline, health, sanitation, morality, public order, and the like may undoubtedly be imposed. Such regulations are not restrictions on the substance of the right, which is guaranteed: they secure the proper functioning of the institution, in matters educational [see observations of Shah, J. in Rev. Sidhajbhai Sabhai (supra), [(1963 3 SCR 837] p. 850]. Further, as observed by Hidyatullah, C.J. in the case of Very Rev. Mother Provincial (supra) [(1971) 1 SCR 734], the standards concern the body politic and are dictated by considerations of the advancement of the country and its people. Therefore, if universities establish syllabi for examinations, they must be followed, subject, however, to special subjects which the institutions may seek to teach, and to a certain extent, the State may also regulate the conditions of employment of teachers and the health and hygiene of students. Such regulations do not bear directly upon management as such, although they may indirectly affect it. Yet the right of the State to regulate education, educational standards, and allied matters cannot be denied. The minority institutions cannot be allowed to fall below the standards of excellence expected of educational institutions, or under the guise of exclusive right of management, to decline to follow the general pattern. While the management must be left to them, they may be compelled to keep in step with others.
92. A regulation which is designed to prevent maladministration of an educational institution cannot be said to offend Clause (1) of Article 30. At the same time, it has to be ensured that under the power of making regulations, nothing is done as would detract from the character of the institution as a minority educational institution or which would impinge upon the rights of the minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The right conferred by Article 30(1) is intended to be real and effective and not a mere pious and abstract sentiment; it is a promise of reality and not a teasing illusion. Such a right cannot be allowed to be whittled down by any measure masquerading as a regulation. As observed by this Court in the case of Rev. Sidhajbhai Sabhai (supra) [(1963 3 SCR 837], regulations which may lawfully be imposed either by legislative or executive action as a condition of receiving grant or of recognition must be directed to making the institution while retaining its character as minority institution effective as an educational institution. Such regulation must satisfy a dual test — the test of reasonableness, and the test that it is regulative of the educational character of the institution and is conducive to making the institution an effective vehicle of education for the minority community or other persons who resort to it.
94. If a request is made for the affiliation or recognition of an educational institution, it is implicit in the request that the educational institution would abide by the regulations which are made by the authority granting affiliation or recognition. The said authority can always prescribe regulations and insist that they should be complied with before it would grant affiliation or recognition to an educational institution. To deny the power of making regulations to the authority concerned would result in robbing the concept of affiliation or recognition of its real essence. No institution can claim affiliation or recognition until it conforms to a certain standard. The fact that the institution is of the prescribed standard indeed inheres in the very concept of affiliation or recognition. It is, therefore, permissible for the authority concerned to prescribe regulations which must be complied with before an institution can seek and retain affiliation and recognition. Question then arises whether there is any limitation on the prescription of regulations for minority educational institutions. So far as this aspect is concerned, the authority prescribing the regulations must bear in mind that the Constitution has guaranteed a fundamental right to the minorities for establishing and administering their educational institutions. Regulations made by the authority concerned should not impinge upon that right. Balance has, therefore, to be kept between the two objectives, that of ensuring the standard of excellence of the institution and that of preserving the right of the minorities to establish and administer their educational institutions. Regulations which embrace and reconcile the two objectives can be considered to be reasonable.” (emphasis supplied) The Court held that it is permissible for the State to prescribe qualifications for teachers. It observed:
“176. Recognition or affiliation is granted on the basis of the excellence of an educational institution, namely, that it has reached the educational standard set up by the university. Recognition or affiliation is sought for the purpose of enabling the students in an educational institution to sit for an examination to be conducted by the university and to obtain a degree conferred by the university. For that purpose, the students should have to be coached in such a manner so as to attain the standard of education prescribed by the university.
Recognition or affiliation creates an interest in the university to ensure that the educational institution is maintained for the purpose intended and any regulation which will subserve or advance that purpose will be reasonable and no educational institution established and administered by a religious or linguistic minority can claim recognition or affiliation without submitting to those regulations. That is the price of recognition or affiliation: but this does not mean that it should submit to a regulation stipulating for surrender of a right or freedom guaranteed by the Constitution, which is unrelated to the purpose of recognition or affiliation. In other words, recognition or affiliation is a facility which the university grants to an educational institution, for the purpose of enabling the students there to sit for an examination to be conducted by the university in the prescribed subjects and to obtain the degree conferred by the university, and therefore, it stands to reason to hold that no regulation which is unrelated to the purpose can be imposed. If besides recognition or affiliation, an educational institution conducted by a religious minority is granted aid, further regulations for ensuring that the aid is utilized for the purpose for which it is granted will be permissible. The heart of the matter is that no educational institution established by a religious or linguistic minority can claim total immunity from regulations by the legislature or the university if it wants affiliation or recognition, but the character of the permissible regulations must depend upon their purpose. As we said, such regulations will be permissible if they are relevant to the purpose of securing or promoting the object of recognition or affiliation. There will be borderline cases where it is difficult to decide whether a regulation really subserves the purpose of recognition or affiliation. But that does not affect the question of principle. In every case, when the reasonableness of a regulation comes up for consideration before the Court, the question to be asked and answered is whether the regulation is calculated to subserve or will in effect subserve the purpose of recognition or affiliation, namely, the excellence of the institution as a vehicle for general secular education to the minority community and to other persons who resort to it. The question whether a regulation is in the general interest of the public has no relevance if it does not advance the excellence of the institution as a vehicle for general secular education as, exhypothesi, the only permissible regulations are those which secure the effectiveness of the purpose of the facility, namely, the excellence of the educational institutions in respect of their educational standards. This is the reason why this Court has time and again said that the question whether a particular regulation is calculated to advance the general public interest is of no consequence if it is not conducive to the interests of the minority community and those persons who resort to it.
197. On the second question, I have nothing significant to add to what has fallen from My Lord the Chief Justice. I am in entire agreement with the view that, although, Articles 29 and 30 may supplement each other so far as certain rights of minorities are concerned, yet, Article 29 of the Constitution does not, in any way, impose a limit on the kind or character of education which a minority may choose to impart through its Institution to the children of its own members or to those of others who may choose to send their children to its schools. In other words, it has a right to impart a general secular education. I would, however, like to point out that, as rights and duties are correlative, it follows, from the extent of this wider right of a minority under Article 30(1) to impart even general or nondenominational secular education to those who may not follow its culture or subscribe to its beliefs, that, when a minority Institution decides to enter this wider educational sphere of national education, it, by reason of this free choice itself, could be deemed to opt to adhere to the needs of the general pattern of such education in the country, at least whenever that choice is made in accordance with statutory provisions. Its choice to impart an education intended to give a secular orientation or character to its education necessarily entails its assent to the imperative needs of the choice made by the State about the kind of “secular” education which promotes national integration or the elevating objectives set out in the preamble to our Constitution, and the best way of giving it. If it is part of a minority's rights to make such a choice, it should also be part of its obligations, which necessarily follow from the choice to adhere to the general pattern. The logical basis of such a choice is that the particular minority Institution, which chooses to impart such general secular education, prefers that higher range of freedom where, according to the poet Rabindranath Tagore, "the narrow domestic walls" which constitute barriers between various sections of the nation will crumble and fall. It may refuse to accept the choice made by the State of the kind of secular education the State wants or of the way in which it should be given. But, in that event, should it not be prepared to forego the benefits of recognition by the State? The State is bound to permit and protect the choice of the minority Institution, whatever that might be. But, can it be compelled to give it a treatment different from that given to other Institutions making such a choice?
221. Evidently, what was meant was that the right to exclusive management of the institution is separable from the right to determine the character of education and its standards. This may explain why "standards" of education were spoken as "not part of management" at all. It meant that the right to manage, having been conferred in absolute terms, could not be interfered with at all although the object of that management could be determined by a general pattern to be laid down by the State, which could prescribe the syllabi and standards of education. Speaking for myself, I find it very difficult to separate the objects and standards of teaching from a right to determine who should teach and what their qualifications should be. Moreover, if the “standards of education” are not part of management, it is difficult to see how they are exceptions to the principle of freedom of management from control. Again, if what is aimed at directly is to be distinguished from an indirect effect of it, the security of tenure of teachers and provisions intended to ensure fair and equitable treatment for them by the management of an institution would also not be directly aimed at interference with its management. They could more properly be viewed as designed to improve and ensure the excellence of teachers available at the institution, and, therefore, to raise the general standard of education. I think that it is enough for us to distinguish this case on the ground that the provisions to be interpreted by us are different, although, speaking for myself, I feel bound to say, with great respect, that I am unable to accept every proposition found stated there as correct. In that case, the provisions of the Kerala University Act 9 of 1969, considered there were inescapable for the minority institutions which claimed the right to be free from their operation. As I have already observed, in the case before us, Section 38B of the Act provides the petitioning College before us with a practically certain mode of escape from the compulsiveness of provisions other than Sections 5, 40, and 41 of the Act if claims made on its behalf are correct.
232. Even if Article 30(1) of the Constitution is held to confer absolute and unfettered rights of management upon minority institutions, subject only to absolutely minimal and negative controls in the interests of health and law and order, it could not be meant to exclude a greater degree of regulation and control when a minority institution enters the wider sphere of general secular and nondenominational education, largely employs teachers who are not members of the particular minority concerned, and when it derives large parts of its income from the fees paid by those who are not members of the particular minority in question. Such greater degree of control could be justified by the need to secure the interests of those who are affected by the management of the minority institution and the education it imparts but who are not members of the minority in management. In other words, the degree of reasonably permissible control must vary from situation to situation. For the reasons already given above, I think that, apart from Sections 5, 40 and 41 of the Act, which directly and unreasonably impinge upon the rights of the petitioning minority managed college, protected by Article 30(1) of the Constitution, I do not think that the other provisions have that effect. On the situation under consideration before us, the minority institution affected by the enactment has, upon the claims put forward on its behalf, a means of escape from the impugned provisions other than Sections 5, 40 and 41 of the Act by resorting to Section 38B of the Act.” (emphasis supplied)
23. In The Gandhi Faizeam College, Shahjahanpur v. University of Agra and Anr., (1975) 2 SCC 283, the Court considered whether statute framed by University of Agra infringed fundamental rights of the minority community and observed thus:
“16. The discussion throws us back to a closer study of Statute 14A to see if it cuts into the flesh of the management’s right or merely tones up its health and habits. The two requirements the University asks for are that the managing body (whatever its name) must take in (a) the Principal of the College; (b) its seniormost teacher. Is this desideratum dismissible as biting into the autonomy of management or tenable as ensuring the excellence of the institution without injuring the essence of the right? On a careful reflection and conscious of the constitutional dilemma, we are inclined to the view that this case falls on the valid side of the delicate line. Regulation which restricts is bad, but regulation which facilitates is good. Where does this fine distinction lie? No rigid formula is possible, but a flexible test is feasible. Where the object and effect is to improve the tone and temper of the administration without forcing on it a stranger, however superb his virtues be, where the directive is not to restructure the governing body but to better its performance by a marginal catalytic induction, where no external authority's fiat or approval or outside nominee is made compulsory to validate the Management Board but inclusion of an internal key functionary appointed by the autonomous management alone is asked for, the provision is salutary and saved, being not a diktat eroding the freedom of the freedom."
(emphasis supplied) The majority negated the challenge. It was held that regulation which restricts is bad, but provision which facilitates is good.
24. In Frank Anthony Public School Employees' Association v. Union of India and others, (1986) 4 SCC 707, question arose whether teachers and other employees working in an unaided school were entitled to same payscale, allowances, and benefits. The Court allowed the petition and opined thus:
“16. The excellence of the instruction provided by an institution would depend directly on the excellence of the teaching staff, and in turn, that would depend on the quality and the contentment of the teachers. Conditions of service pertaining to minimum qualifications of teachers, their salaries, allowances and other conditions of service which ensure security, contentment and decent living standards to teachers and which will consequently enable them to render better service to the institution and the pupils cannot surely be said to be violative of the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 30(1) of the Constitution. The management of a minority Educational Institution cannot be permitted under the guise of the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 30(1) of the Constitution, to oppress or exploit its employees any more than any other private employee. Oppression or exploitation of the teaching staff of an educational institution is bound to lead, inevitably, to discontent and deterioration of the standard of instruction imparted in the institution affecting adversely the object of making the institution an effective vehicle of education for the minority community or other persons who resort to it. The management of minority institution cannot complain of invasion of the fundamental right to administer the institution when it denies the members of its staff the opportunity to achieve the very object of Article 30(1) which is to make the institution an effective vehicle of education.” (emphasis supplied)
25. In Bihar State Madarasa Education Board, Patna v. Madarasa Hanfia Arabic College, Jamalia and others, (1990) 1 SCC 428, the Court held that minorities have the right to establish and administer educational institution of their own choice. Still, they have no right to maladminister, and the State has the power to regulate the management and administration of such institutions in the interest of educational need and discipline of the institution. The Court held thus:
“6. The question which arises for consideration is whether Section 7(2)(n) which confers power on the Board to dissolve the Managing Committee of an aided and recognised Madarasa institution violates the minorities constitutional right to administer its educational institution according to their choice. This Court has all along held that though the minorities have right to establish and administer educational institution of their own choice but they have no right to maladminister and the State has power to regulate management and administration of such institutions in the interest of educational need and discipline of the institution. Such regulation may have indirect effect on the absolute right of minorities but that would not violate Article 30(1) of the Constitution as it is the duty of the State to ensure efficiency in educational institutions. The State has, however, no power to completely take over the management of a minority institution. Under the guise of regulating the educational standards to secure efficiency in institution, the State is not entitled to frame rules or regulations compelling the management to surrender its right of administration. In State of Kerala v. Very Rev. Mother Provincial, (1970) 2 SCC 417, Section 63(1) of the Kerala University Act, 1969 which conferred power on the government to take over the management of a minority institution on its default in carrying out the directions of the State Government was declared ultra vires on the ground that the provisions interfered with the constitutional right of a minority to administer its institution. Minority institutions cannot be allowed to fall below the standard of excellence on the pretext of their exclusive right of management but at the same time their constitutional right to administer their institutions cannot be completely taken away by superseding or dissolving Managing Committee or by appointing ad hoc committees in place thereof. In the instant case Section 7(2)(n) is clearly violative of constitutional right of minorities under Article 30(1) of the Constitution insofar as it provides for dissolution of Managing Committee of a Madarasa. We agree with the view taken by the High Court.” (emphasis supplied)
26. In St. Stephen's College v. University of Delhi, (1992) 1 SCC 558, concerning admission process adopted by aided minority institutions, various questions were raised thus:
“41. It was contended that St. Stephen’s College after being affiliated to the Delhi University has lost its minority character. The argument was based on some of the provisions in the Delhi University Act and the Ordinances made thereunder. It was said that the students are admitted to the University and not to the College as such. But we find no substance in the contention. In the first place, it may be stated that the State or any instrumentality of the State cannot deprive the character of the institution, founded by a minority community by compulsory affiliation since Article 30(1) is a special right to minorities to establish educational institutions of their choice. The minority institution has a distinct identity and the right to administer with continuance of such identity cannot be denied by coercive action. Any such coercive action would be void being contrary to the constitutional guarantee. The right to administer is the right to conduct and manage the affairs of the institution. This right is exercised by a body of persons in whom the founders have faith and confidence. Such a management body of the institution cannot be displaced or reorganised if the right is to be recognised and maintained. Reasonable regulations however, are permissible but regulations should be of regulatory nature and not of abridgment of the right guaranteed under Article 30(1).
60. The right to select students for admission is a part of administration. It is indeed an important facet of administration. This power also could be regulated but the regulation must be reasonable just like any other regulation. It should be conducive to the welfare of the minority institution or for the betterment of those who resort to it. The Bombay Government order which prevented the schools using English as the medium of instruction from admitting students who have a mother tongue other than English was held to be invalid since it restricted the admission pattern of the schools [State of Bombay v. Bombay Education Society, (1955) 1 SCR 568]. The Gujarat Government direction to the minority run college to reserve 80 per cent of seats for government selected candidates with a threat to withdraw the grantinaid and recognition was struck down as infringing the fundamental right guaranteed to minorities under Article 30(1) of the Constitution [Sidhajbhai Sabhai v. State of Bombay, (1963) 3 SCR 837]. In Rt. Rev. Magr. Mark Netto v. State of Kerala, (1979) 1 SCC 23, the denial of permission to the management of a minority school to admit girl students was held to be bad. The Regional Deputy Director in that case refused to give sanction for admission of girl students on two grounds: (i) that the school was not opened as a mixed school and that the school has been run purely as a boys school for 25 years; and
(ii) that there was facility for the education of girls of the locality in a nearby girls school which was established by the Muslims and was also a minority institution. This Court noted that the Christian community in the locality wanted their girls also to receive education in the school maintained specially by their own community. They did not think it in their interest to send their children to the Muslim girls school run by the other minority community. The withholding of permission for admission of girl students in the boys minority school was violative of Article 30(1). It was also observed that the rule sanctioning such refusal of permission crosses the barrier of regulatory measures and comes in the region of interference with the administration of the institution, a right which is guaranteed to the minority under Article 30(1). The Court restricted the operation of the rule and made it inapplicable to the minority educational institution. In Director of School Education, Government of T.N. v. Rev. Brother G. Arogiasamy, AIR 1971 Mad 440, the Madras High Court had an occasion to consider the validity of an uniform procedure prescribed by the State Government for admission of candidates to the aided training schools. The government directed that the candidates should be selected by the school authorities by interviewing every candidate eligible for admission and assessing and awarding marks in the interview. The marks awarded to each candidate in the interview will be added to the marks secured by the candidate in the SSLC public examination. On the basis of the aggregate of marks in the SSLC examination and those obtained at the interview the selection was to be made without any further discretion. The High Court held that the method of selection placed serious restrictions on the freedom of the minority institution to admit their own students. It was found that the students of the minority community could not compete with the students belonging to other communities.
The applications of students from other communities could not be restricted under law. The result was that the students of minority community for whose benefit the institution was founded, had little chance of getting admission. The High Court held that the government order prescribing the uniform method of selection could not be applied to minority institutions.
78. Having set the scene, we can deal with the provisions of Articles 29(1) and 30(1) relatively quickly. Under Article 29(1) every section of the citizens having a distinct language, script or culture of its own has the right to conserve the same. Under Article 29(1), the minorities — religious or linguistic — are entitled to establish and administer educational institutions to conserve their distinct language, script or culture. However, it has been consistently held by the courts that the right to establish an educational institution is not confined to purposes of conservation of language, script or culture. The rights in Article 30(1) are of wider amplitude. The width of Article 30(1) cannot be cut down by the considerations on which Article 29(1) is based. The words “of their choice” in Article 30(1) leave vast options to the minorities in selecting the type of educational institutions which they wish to establish. They can establish institutions to conserve their distinct language, script or culture or for imparting general secular education or for both the purposes. (See: Father W. Proost v. State of Bihar, (1969) 2 SCR 73, Ahmedabad St. Xavier’s College v. State of Gujarat, (1974) 1 SCC 717; and Kerala Education Bill case, 1959 SCR 995.)” (emphasis supplied) The decision in St. Stephen's College (supra) has been analysed by my esteemed brother Lalit, J. in Sk. Md. Rafique v. Managing Committee, Contai Rahamania High Madrasah and Ors., 2020 (1) SCALE 345, thus:
“28. In St. Stephen's College vs. University of Delhi, (1992) 1 SCC 558 a Bench of five Judges of this Court had an occasion to consider the admission process adopted by two aided minority institutions viz. St. Stephen's College at Delhi and Allahabad Agricultural Institute at Naini. The factual context as summedup in the majority judgment authored by Shetty, J., was as under:
“68. It is not in dispute that St. Stephen's College and Allahabad Agricultural Institute are receiving grantinaid from the government. St. Stephen's College gives preference to Christian students. The Allahabad Agricultural Institute reserves 50 per cent of the seats for Christian students. The Christian students admitted by preference or against the quota reserved are having less merit in the qualifying examination than the other candidates. The other candidates with more merit are denied admission on the ground that they are not Christians.
69. It was argued for the University and the Students Union that since both the institutions are receiving State aid, the institutional preference for admission based on religion is violative of Article 29(2) of the Constitution. The institutions shall not prefer or deny admission to candidates on ground of religion. For institutions, on the other hand, it was claimed that any preference given to the religious minority candidates in their own institutions cannot be a discrimination falling under Article 29(2). The institutions are established for the benefit of their community and if they are prevented from admitting their community candidates, the purpose of establishing the institutions would be defeated. The minorities are entitled to admit their candidates by preference or by reservation. They are also entitled to admit them to the exclusion of all others and that right flows from the right to establish and administer educational institutions guaranteed under Article 30(1).” 28.1. The majority judgment dealt with the submissions raised by the institution as under:
“80. Equally, it would be difficult to accept the second submission that the minorities are entitled to establish and administer educational institutions for their exclusive benefit. The choice of institution provided in Article 30(1) does not mean that the minorities could establish educational institution for the benefit of their own community people. Indeed, they cannot. It was pointed out in Re, Kerala Education Bill that the minorities cannot establish educational institution only for the benefit of their community. If such was the aim, Article 30(1) would have been differently worded and it would have contained the words "for their own community". In the absence of such words it is legally impermissible to construe the article as conferring the right on the minorities to establish educational institution for their own benefit.
81. Even in practice, such claims are likely to be met with considerable hostility. It may not be conducive to have a relatively homogeneous society. It may lead to religious bigotry which is the bane of mankind. In the nation building with secular character sectarian schools or colleges, segregated faculties or universities for imparting general secular education are undesirable and they may undermine secular democracy. They would be inconsistent with the central concept of secularism and equality embedded in the Constitution. Every educational institution irrespective of community to which it belongs is a 'melting pot' in our national life. The students and teachers are the critical ingredients. It is there they develop respect for, and tolerance of, the cultures and beliefs of others. It is essential therefore, that there should be proper mix of students of different communities in all educational institutions.” *** 28.3. The majority Judgment, then, considered the matter from the perspective of "Rights of Minorities and Balancing Interest" and observed:
“101. Laws carving out the rights of minorities in Article 30(1) however, must not be arbitrary, invidious or unjustified; they must have a reasonable relation between the aim and the means employed. The individual rights will necessarily have to be balanced with competing minority interests. In Sidhajbhai case (1963) 3 SCR 837 the government order directing the minority run college to reserve 80 per cent of seats for government nominees and permitting only 20 per cent of seats for the management with a threat to withhold the grantinaid and recognition was struck down by the Court as infringing the fundamental freedom guaranteed by Article 30(1). Attention may also be drawn to Article 337 of the Constitution which provided a special concession to Anglo Indian community for ten years from the commencement of the Constitution. Unlike Article 30(2) it conferred a positive right on the AngloIndian community to get grants from the government for their educational institutions, but subject to the condition that at least 40 per cent of annual admission were made available to members of other communities.
102. In the light of all these principles and factors, and in view of the importance which the Constitution attaches to protective measures to minorities under Article 30(1), the minority aided educational institutions are entitled to prefer their community candidates to maintain the minority character of the institutions subject of course to conformity with the University standard. The State may regulate the intake in this category with due regard to the need of the community in the area which the institution is intended to serve. But in no case such intake shall exceed 50 per cent of the annual admission. The minority institutions shall make available at least 50 per cent of the annual admission to members of communities other than the minority community. The admission of other community candidates shall be done purely on the basis of merit.” 28.4. It was also observed that regulations which serve the interest of students and teachers and preserve the uniformity in standards of education amongst the affiliated institutions could validly be made. The relevant discussion in para 59 was as under:
“59. The need for a detailed study on this aspect is indeed not necessary. The right to minorities whether religious or linguistic, to administer educational institutions and the power of the State to regulate academic matters and management is now fairly well settled. The right to administer does not include the right to maladminister. The State being the controlling authority has right and duty to regulate all academic matters. Regulations which will serve the interests of students and teachers, and to preserve the uniformity in standards of education among the affiliated institutions could be made. The minority institutions cannot claim immunity against such general pattern and standard or against general laws such as laws relating to law and order, health, hygiene, labour relations, social welfare legislations, contracts, torts etc. which are applicable to all communities. So long as the basic right of minorities to manage educational institution is not taken away, the State is competent to make regulatory legislation. Regulations, however, shall not have the effect of depriving the right of minorities to educate their children in their own institution. That is a privilege which is implied in the right conferred by Article 30(1).” 28.5. The dissenting opinion of Kasliwal, J. quoted a passage from the Constituent Assembly Debates (CAD) touching upon the matter in issue as under: “137. These were Articles 23(1) on the one hand and 23(3)(a) and 23(3)(b) on the other hand in the Draft Constitution.
Firstly, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said in relation
to draft Article 23(2) corresponding to the present
Article 28 of the Constitution that even in relation to Articles 30 and 29 the State was completely free to give or not to give aid to the educational institutions of the religious or linguistic minorities. He said:
“Now, with regard to the second clause I think it has not been sufficiently well understood. We have tried to reconcile the claim of a community which has started educational institutions for the advancement of its own children either in education or in cultural matters, to permit to give religious instruction in such institutions; notwithstanding the fact that it receives certain aid from the State. The State, of course, is free to give aid, is free not to give aid; the only limitation we have placed is this, that the State shall not debar the institution from claiming aid under its grantinaid code merely on the ground that it is run and maintained by a community and not maintained by a public body. We have there provided also a further qualification, that while it is free to give religious instruction in the institution and the grant made by the State shall not be a bar to the giving of such instruction, it shall not give instruction to, or make it compulsory upon, the children belonging to other communities unless and until they obtain the consent of the parents of these children. That, I think, is a salutary provision. It performs two functions...
Shri H.V. Kamath: On a point of clarification what about institutions and schools run by a community or a minority for its own pupils — not a school where all communities are mixed but a school run by the community for its own pupils?
The Hon'ble Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: If my friend, Mr. Kamath will read the other article he will see that once an institution, whether maintained by the community or not, gets a grant, the condition is that it shall keep the school open to all communities. That provision he has not read.”
138. He reaffirmed the freedom of the State to give or not to give aid to these schools when directly referring to draft Article 23 which is the precursor of the present Articles 29 and 30 as follows (VII CAD 923):
“I think another thing which has to be borne in reading Article 23 is that it does not impose any obligation or burden upon the State. It does not say that, when for instance the Madras people come to Bombay, the Bombay Government shall be required by law to finance any project of giving education either in Tamil language or in Andhra language or any other language. There is no burden cast upon the State. The only limitation that is imposed by Article 23 is that if there is a cultural minority which wants to preserve its language, its script and its culture, the State shall not by law impose upon it any other culture which may be either local or otherwise.” And, went on to observe that once an institution was receiving aid, "it must abide by the rigor of Article 29(2) in the matter of admission of students in the college" and "as already held by me, St. Stephen's College and Allahabad Agricultural Institute are not entitled to claim any preferential right or reservation in favour of students of Christian community as they are getting grantinaid and as such I do not consider it necessary to labour any more on the question of deciding as to what percentage can be considered as reasonable.” (emphasis supplied) The Court held that the choice of institution does not mean that the minorities could establish educational institution for the benefit of their own community people. In Re The Kerala Education Bill (supra), it was considered and observed that the minorities cannot establish educational institution only for the benefit of their community. Every educational institution, irrespective of community to which it belongs, is a 'melting pot' in our national life and that there should be mixing up of students of different communities in all educational institutions.
The intake for the community cannot exceed 50% of the annual admission, which is to be provided to other than the minority community. The admission should be made purely on the basis of merit.
27. In T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra), decided by Bench of 11 Judges of the Court, on consideration of the rights under Article 30 of the Constitution of India, held thus:
“3. The hearing of these cases has had a chequered history.
Writ Petition No. 350 of 1993 filed by the Islamic Academy of Education and connected petitions were placed before a Bench of five Judges. As the Bench was prima facie of the opinion that Article 30 did not clothe a minority educational institution with the power to adopt its own method of selection and the correctness of the decision of this Court in St. Stephen's College v. University of Delhi, (1992) 1 SCC 558, was doubted, it was directed that the questions that arose should be authoritatively answered by a larger Bench. These cases were then placed before a Bench of seven Judges. The questions framed were recast and on 621997, the Court directed that the matter be placed before a Bench of at least eleven Judges, as it was felt that in view of the Fortysecond Amendment to the Constitution, whereby "education" had been included in Entry 25 of List III of Seventh Schedule, the question of who would be regarded as a "minority" was required to be considered because the earlier caselaw related to the pre amendment era, when education was only in the State List. When the cases came up for hearing before an elevenJudge Bench, during the course of hearing on 1931997, the following order was passed:
“Since a doubt has arisen during the course of our arguments as to whether this Bench would feel itself bound by the ratio propounded in — Kerala Education Bill, 1957, In Re, AIR 1958 SC 956 and Ahmedabad St. Xavier's College Society v. State of Gujarat, (1974) 1 SCC 717 it is clarified that this sized Bench would not feel itself inhibited by the views expressed in those cases since the present endeavour is to discern the true scope and interpretation of Article 30(1) of the Constitution, which being the dominant question would require examination in its pristine purity. The factum is recorded.””
38. The scheme in Unni Krishnan case, (1993) 1 SCC 645 has the effect of nationalizing education in respect of important features viz. the right of a private unaided institution to give admission and to fix the fee. By framing this scheme, which has led to the State Governments legislating in conformity with the scheme, the private institutions are indistinguishable from the government institutions; curtailing all the essential features of the right of administration of a private unaided educational institution can neither be called fair nor reasonable. Even in the decision in Unni Krishnan case it has been observed by Jeevan Reddy, J., at p. 749, para 194, as follows:
“194. The hard reality that emerges is that private educational institutions are a necessity in the presentday context. It is not possible to do without them because the governments are in no position to meet the demand — particularly in the sector of medical and technical education which call for substantial outlays. While education is one of the most important functions of the Indian State it has no monopoly therein. Private educational institutions — including minority educational institutions — too have a role to play.”
40. Any system of student selection would be unreasonable if it deprives the private unaided institution of the right of rational selection, which it devised for itself, subject to the minimum qualification that may be prescribed and to some system of computing the equivalence between different kinds of qualifications, like a common entrance test. Such a system of selection can involve both written and oral tests for selection, based on principle of fairness.
45. In view of the discussion hereinabove, we hold that the decision in Unni Krishnan case, (1993) 1 SCC 645 insofar as it framed the scheme relating to the grant of admission and the fixing of the fee, was not correct, and to that extent, the said decision and the consequent directions given to UGC, AICTE, the Medical Council of India, the Central and State Governments etc. are overruled.
50. The right to establish and administer broadly comprises the following rights:
(a) to admit students;
(b) to set up a reasonable fee structure;
(c) to constitute a governing body;
(d) to appoint staff (teaching and nonteaching); and
(e) to take action if there is dereliction of duty on the part of any employees.
53. With regard to the core components of the rights under Articles 19 and 26(a), it must be held that while the State has the right to prescribe qualifications necessary for admission, private unaided colleges have the right to admit students of their choice, subject to an objective and rational procedure of selection and the compliance with conditions, if any, requiring admission of a small percentage of students belonging to weaker sections of the society by granting them freeships or scholarships, if not granted by the Government. Furthermore, in setting up a reasonable fee structure, the element of profiteering is not as yet accepted in Indian conditions. The fee structure must take into consideration the need to generate funds to be utilized for the betterment and growth of the educational institution, the betterment of education in that institution and to provide facilities necessary for the benefit of the students. In any event, a private institution will have the right to constitute its own governing body, for which qualifications may be prescribed by the State or the university concerned. It will, however, be objectionable if the State retains the power to nominate specific individuals on governing bodies. Nomination by the State, which could be on a political basis, will be an inhibiting factor for private enterprise to embark upon the occupation of establishing and administering educational institutions. For the same reasons, nomination of teachers either directly by the department or through a service commission will be an unreasonable inroad and an unreasonable restriction on the autonomy of the private unaided educational institution.
68. It would be unfair to apply the same rules and regulations regulating admission to both aided and unaided professional institutions. It must be borne in mind that unaided professional institutions are entitled to autonomy in their administration while, at the same time, they do not forego or discard the principle of merit. It would, therefore, be permissible for the university or the Government, at the time of granting recognition, to require a private unaided institution to provide for meritbased selection while, at the same time, giving the management sufficient discretion in admitting students. This can be done through various methods. For instance, a certain percentage of the seats can be reserved for admission by the management out of those students who have passed the common entrance test held by itself or by the State/university and have applied to the college concerned for admission, while the rest of the seats may be filled up on the basis of counselling by the State agency. This will incidentally take care of poorer and backward sections of the society. The prescription of percentage for this purpose has to be done by the Government according to the local needs and different percentages can be fixed for minority unaided and non minority unaided and professional colleges. The same principles may be applied to other nonprofessional but unaided educational institutions viz. graduation and postgraduation nonprofessional colleges or institutes.
71. While giving aid to professional institutions, it would be permissible for the authority giving aid to prescribe by rules or regulations, the conditions on the basis of which admission will be granted to different aided colleges by virtue of merit, coupled with the reservation policy of the State. The merit may be determined either through a common entrance test conducted by the university or the Government followed by counselling, or on the basis of an entrance test conducted by individual institutions — the method to be followed is for the university or the Government to decide. The authority may also devise other means to ensure that admission is granted to an aided professional institution on the basis of merit. In the case of such institutions, it will be permissible for the Government or the university to provide that consideration should be shown to the weaker sections of the society.
90. In the exercise of this right to conserve the language, script or culture, that section of the society can set up educational institutions. The right to establish and maintain educational institutions of its choice is a necessary concomitant to the right conferred by Article 30. The right under Article 30 is not absolute. Article 29(2) provides that, where any educational institution is maintained by the State or receives aid out of State funds, no citizen shall be denied admission on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them. The use of the expression "any educational institution" in Article 29(2) would (sic not) refer to any educational institution established by anyone, but which is maintained by the State or receives aid out of State funds. In other words, on a plain reading, Statemaintained or aided educational institutions, whether established by the Government or the majority or a minority community cannot deny admission to a citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, caste or language.
93. Can Article 30(1) be so read as to mean that it contains an absolute right of the minorities, whether based on religion or language, to establish and administer educational institutions in any manner they desire, and without being obliged to comply with the provisions of any law? Does Article 30(1) give the religious or linguistic minorities a right to establish an educational institution that propagates religious or racial bigotry or ill will amongst the people? Can the right under Article 30(1) be so exercised that it is opposed to public morality or health? In the exercise of its right, would the minority while establishing educational institutions not be bound by town planning rules and regulations? Can they construct and maintain buildings in any manner they desire without complying with the provisions of the building byelaws or health regulations?
105. In Rev. Sidhajbhai Sabhai v. State of Bombay, (1963) 3 SCR 837, this Court had to consider the validity of an order issued by the Government of Bombay whereby from the academic year 195556, 80% of the seats in the training colleges for teachers in nongovernment training colleges were to be reserved for the teachers nominated by the Government. The petitioners, who belonged to the minority community, were, inter alia, running a training college for teachers, as also primary schools. The said primary schools and college were conducted for the benefit of the religious denomination of the United Church of Northern India and Indian Christians generally, though admission was not denied to students belonging to other communities. The petitioners challenged the government order requiring 80% of the seats to be filled by nominees of the Government, inter alia, on the ground that the petitioners were members of a religious denomination and that they constituted a religious minority, and that the educational institutions had been established primarily for the benefit of the Christian community. It was the case of the petitioners that the decision of the Government violated their fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 30(1), 26(a), (b), (c) and (d), and 19(1)(f) and (g). While interpreting Article 30, it was observed by this Court at SCR pp. 84950 as under:
“All minorities, linguistic or religious have by Article 30(1) an absolute right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice; and any law or executive direction which seeks to infringe the substance of that right under Article 30(1) would to that extent be void. This, however, is not to say that it is not open to the State to impose regulations upon the exercise of this right. The fundamental freedom is to establish and to administer educational institutions: it is a right to establish and administer what are in truth educational institutions, institutions which cater to the educational needs of the citizens, or sections thereof. Regulation made in the true interests of efficiency of instruction, discipline, health, sanitation, morality, public order and the like may undoubtedly be imposed. Such Regulations are not restrictions on the substance of the right which is guaranteed: they secure the proper functioning of the institution, in matters educational.”
106. While coming to the conclusion that the right of the private training colleges to admit students of their choice was severely restricted, this Court referred to the opinion in Kerala Education Bill, 1957 case, 1959 SCR 995, but distinguished it by observing that the Court did not, in that case, lay down any test of reasonableness of the regulation. No general principle on which the reasonableness of a regulation may be tested was sought to be laid down in Kerala Education Bill, 1957 case, 1959 SCR 995 and, therefore, it was held in Sidhajbhai Sabhai case, (1963) 3 SCR 837 that the opinion in that case was not an authority for the proposition that all regulative measures, which were not destructive or annihilative of the character of the institution established by the minority, provided the regulations were in the national or public interest, were valid. In this connection it was further held at SCR pp. 856 57, as follows:
“The right established by Article 30(1) is a fundamental right declared in terms absolute. Unlike the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by Article 19, it is not subject to reasonable restrictions. It is intended to be a real right for the protection of the minorities in the matter of setting up of educational institutions of their own choice. The right is intended to be effective and is not to be whittled down by socalled regulative measures conceived in the interest not of the minority educational institution, but of the public or the nation as a whole. If every order which while maintaining the formal character of a minority institution destroys the power of administration is held justifiable because it is in the public or national interest, though not in its interest as an educational institution, the right guaranteed by Article 30(1) will be but a 'teasing illusion', a promise of unreality. Regulations which may lawfully be imposed either by legislative or executive action as a condition of receiving grant or of recognition must be directed to making the institution while retaining its character as a minority institution effective as an educational institution. Such regulation must satisfy a dual test the test of reasonableness, and the test that it is regulative of the educational character of the institution and is conducive to making the institution an effective vehicle of education for the minority community or other persons who resort to it.”
107. The aforesaid decision does indicate that the right under Article 30(1) is not so absolute as to prevent the Government from making any regulation whatsoever. As already noted hereinabove, in Sidhajbhai Sabhai case, (1963) 3 SCR 837, it was laid down that regulations made in the true interests of efficiency of instruction, discipline, health, sanitation, morality and public order could be imposed. If this is so, it is difficult to appreciate how the Government can be prevented from framing regulations that are in the national interest, as it seems to be indicated in the passage quoted hereinabove. Any regulation framed in the national interest must necessarily apply to all educational institutions, whether run by the majority or the minority. Such a limitation must necessarily be read into Article 30. The right under Article 30(1) cannot be such as to override the national interest or to prevent the Government from framing regulations in that behalf. It is, of course, true that government regulations cannot destroy the minority character of the institution or make the right to establish and administer a mere illusion; but the right under Article 30 is not so absolute as to be above the law. It will further be seen that in Sidhajbhai Sabhai case, (1963) 3 SCR 837, no reference was made to Article 29(2) of the Constitution. This decision, therefore, cannot be an authority for the proposition canvassed before us.
119. In a concurrent judgment, while noting (at SCC p. 770, para 73) that "clause (2) of Article 29 forbids the denial of admission to citizens 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", Khanna, J. then examined Article 30, and observed at SCR p. 222, as follows: (SCC p. 770, para 74) “74. Clause (1) of Article 30 gives right to all minorities, whether based on religion or language, to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Analysing that clause it would follow that the right which has been conferred by the clause is on two types of minorities. Those minorities may be based either on religion or on language. The right conferred upon the said minorities is to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The word 'establish' indicates the right to bring into existence, while the right to administer an institution means the right to effectively manage and conduct the affairs of the institution. Administration connotes management of the affairs of the institution. The management must be free of control so that the founders or their nominees can mould the institution as they think fit and in accordance with their ideas of how the interest of the community in general and the institution in particular will be best served. The words 'of their choice' qualify the educational institutions and show that the educational institutions established and administered by the minorities need not be of some particular class; the minorities have the right and freedom to establish and administer such educational institutions as they choose. Clause (2) of Article 30 prevents the State from making discrimination in the matter of grant of aid to any educational institution on the ground that the institution is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.”
120. Explaining the rationale behind Article 30, it was observed at SCR p. 224, as follows: (SCC p. 772, para 77) “77. The idea of giving some special rights to the minorities is not to have a kind of a privileged or pampered section of the population but to give to the minorities a sense of security and a feeling of confidence. The great leaders of India since time immemorial had preached the doctrine of tolerance and catholicity of outlook. Those noble ideas were enshrined in the Constitution. Special rights for minorities were designed not to create inequality. Their real effect was to bring about equality by ensuring the preservation of the minority institutions and by guaranteeing to the minorities autonomy in the matter of the administration of those institutions. The differential treatment for the minorities by giving them special rights is intended to bring about an equilibrium, so that the ideal of equality may not be reduced to a mere abstract idea but should become a living reality and result in true, genuine equality, an equality not merely in theory but also in fact.”
121. While advocating that provisions of the Constitution should be construed according to the liberal, generous and sympathetic approach, and after considering the principles which could be discerned by him from the earlier decisions of this Court, Khanna, J., observed at SCR p. 234, as follows: (SCC p. 781, para 89) “The minorities are as much children of the soil as the majority and the approach has been to ensure that nothing should be done as might deprive the minorities of a sense of belonging, of a feeling of security, of a consciousness of equality and of the awareness that the conservation of their religion, culture, language and script as also the protection of their educational institutions is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution. The same generous, liberal and sympathetic approach should weigh with the courts in construing Articles 29 and 30 as marked the deliberations of the Constitutionmakers in drafting those articles and making them part of the fundamental rights. The safeguarding of the interest of the minorities amongst sections of population is as important as the protection of the interest amongst individuals of persons who are below the age of majority or are otherwise suffering from some kind of infirmity. The Constitution and the laws made by civilized nations, therefore, generally contain provisions for the protection of those interests. It can, indeed, be said to be an index of the level of civilization and catholicity of a nation as to how far their minorities feel secure and are not subject to any discrimination or suppression.”
122. The learned Judge then observed that the right of the minorities to administer educational institutions did not prevent the making of reasonable regulations in respect of these institutions. Recognizing that the right to administer educational institutions could not include the right to maladminister, it was held that regulations could be lawfully imposed, for the receiving of grants and recognition, while permitting the institution to retain its character as a minority institution. The regulation "must satisfy a dual test — the test of reasonableness, and the test that it is regulative of the educational character of the institution and is conducive to making the institution an effective vehicle of education for the minority community or other persons who resort to it". (SCC p. 783, para 92) It was permissible for the authorities to prescribe regulations, which must be complied with, before a minority institution could seek or retain affiliation and recognition. But it was also stated that the regulations made by the authority should not impinge upon the minority character of the institution. Therefore, a balance has to be kept between the two objectives — that of ensuring the standard of excellence of the institution, and that of preserving the right of the minorities to establish and administer their educational institutions. Regulations that embraced and reconciled the two objectives could be considered to be reasonable. This, in our view, is the correct approach to the problem.
123. After referring to the earlier cases in relation to the appointment of teachers, it was noted by Khanna, J., that the conclusion which followed was that a law which interfered with a minority's choice of qualified teachers, or its disciplinary control over teachers and other members of the staff of the institution, was void, as it was violative of Article 30(1). While it was permissible for the State and its educational authorities to prescribe the qualifications of teachers, it was held that once the teachers possessing the requisite qualifications were selected by the minorities for their educational institutions, the State would have no right to veto the selection of those teachers.
The selection and appointment of teachers for an educational institution was regarded as one of the essential ingredients under Article 30(1). The Court's attention was drawn to the fact that in Kerala Education Bill, 1957 case, 1959 SCR 995, this Court had opined that clauses 11 and 12 made it obligatory for all aided schools to select teachers from a panel selected from each district by the Public Service Commission and that no teacher of an aided school could be dismissed, removed or reduced in rank without the previous sanction of the authorized officer. At SCR p.245, Khanna, J., observed that in cases subsequent to the opinion in Kerala Education Bill, 1957 case, (1959) SCR 995 this Court had held similar provisions as clause 11 and clause 12 to be violative of Article 30(1) of the minority institutions. He then observed as follows: (SCC p. 792, para
“The opinion expressed by this Court in Re Kerala Education Bill, 1957, 1959 SCR 995, was of an advisory character and though great weight should be attached to it because of its persuasive value, the said opinion cannot override the opinion subsequently expressed by this Court in contested cases. It is the law declared by this Court in the subsequent contested cases which would have a binding effect. The words 'as at present advised' as well as the preceding sentence indicate that the view expressed by this Court in Re Kerala Education Bill, 1957 in this respect was hesitant and tentative and not a final view in the matter.”
135. We agree with the contention of the learned Solicitor General that the Constitution in Part III does not contain or give any absolute right. All rights conferred in Part III of the Constitution are subject to at least other provisions of the said Part. It is difficult to comprehend that the framers of the Constitution would have given such an absolute right to the religious or linguistic minorities, which would enable them to establish and administer educational institutions in a manner so as to be in conflict with the other Parts of the Constitution. We find it difficult to accept that in the establishment and administration of educational institutions by the religious and linguistic minorities, no law of the land, even the Constitution, is to apply to them.
136. Decisions of this Court have held that the right to administer does not include the right to maladminister. It has also been held that the right to administer is not absolute, but must be subject to reasonable regulations for the benefit of the institutions as the vehicle of education, consistent with national interest. General laws of the land applicable to all persons have been held to be applicable to the minority institutions also — for example, laws relating to taxation, sanitation, social welfare, economic regulation, public order and morality.
137. It follows from the aforesaid decisions that even though the words of Article 30(1) are unqualified, this Court has held that at least certain other laws of the land pertaining to health, morality and standards of education apply. The right under Article 30(1) has, therefore, not been held to be absolute or above other provisions of the law, and we reiterate the same. By the same analogy, there is no reason why regulations or conditions concerning, generally, the welfare of students and teachers should not be made applicable in order to provide a proper academic atmosphere, as such provisions do not in any way interfere with the right of administration or management under Article 30(1).
138. As we look at it, Article 30(1) is a sort of guarantee or assurance to the linguistic and religious minority institutions of their right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Secularism and equality being two of the basic features of the Constitution, Article 30(1) ensures protection to the linguistic and religious minorities, thereby preserving the secularism of the country. Furthermore, the principles of equality must necessarily apply to the enjoyment of such rights. No law can be framed that will discriminate against such minorities with regard to the establishment and administration of educational institutions visavis other educational institutions. Any law or rule or regulation that would put the educational institutions run by the minorities at a disadvantage when compared to the institutions run by the others will have to be struck down. At the same time, there also cannot be any reverse discrimination. It was observed in St. Xavier's College case, (1975) 1 SCR 173 at SCR p. 192 that: (SCC p. 743, para 9) “The whole object of conferring the right on minorities under Article 30 is to ensure that there will be equality between the majority and the minority. If the minorities do not have such special protection they will be denied equality.” In other words, the essence of Article 30(1) is to ensure equal treatment between the majority and the minority institutions. No one type or category of institution should be disfavoured or, for that matter, receive more favourable treatment than another. Laws of the land, including rules and regulations, must apply equally to the majority institutions as well as to the minority institutions. The minority institutions must be allowed to do what the nonminority institutions are permitted to do.
139. Like any other private unaided institutions, similar unaided educational institutions administered by linguistic or religious minorities are assured maximum autonomy in relation thereto; e.g. method of recruitment of teachers, charging of fees and admission of students. They will have to comply with the conditions of recognition, which cannot be such as to whittle down the right under Article 30.
144. It cannot be argued that no conditions can be imposed while giving aid to a minority institution. Whether it is an institution run by the majority or the minority, all conditions that have relevance to the proper utilization of the grantinaid by an educational institution can be imposed. All that Article 30(2) states is that on the ground that an institution is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language, grant of aid to that educational institution cannot be discriminated against, if other educational institutions are entitled to receive aid. The conditions for grant or nongrant of aid to educational institutions have to be uniformly applied, whether it is a majorityrun institution or a minorityrun institution. As in the case of a majorityrun institution, the moment a minority institution obtains a grant of aid, Article 28 of the Constitution comes into play. When an educational institution is maintained out of State funds, no religious instruction can be provided therein. Article 28(1) does not state that it applies only to educational institutions that are not established or maintained by religious or linguistic minorities. Furthermore, upon the receipt of aid, the provisions of Article 28(3) would apply to all educational institutions whether run by the minorities or the non minorities. Article 28(3) is the right of a person studying in a Staterecognized institution or in an educational institution receiving aid from State funds, not to take part in any religious instruction, if imparted by such institution, without his/her consent (or his/her guardian's consent if such a person is a minor). Just as Articles 28(1) and (3) become applicable the moment any educational institution takes aid, likewise, Article 29(2) would also be attracted and become applicable to an educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds. It was strenuously contended that the right to give admission is one of the essential ingredients of the right to administer conferred on the religious or linguistic minority, and that this right should not be curtailed in any manner. It is difficult to accept this contention. If Articles 28(1) and (3) apply to a minority institution that receives aid out of State funds, there is nothing in the language of Article 30 that would make the provisions of Article 29(2) inapplicable. Like Article 28(1) and Article 28(3), Article 29(2) refers to "any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds". A minority institution would fall within the ambit of Article 29(2) in the same manner in which Article 28(1) and Article 28(3) would be applicable to an aided minority institution. It is true that one of the rights to administer an educational institution is to grant admission to the students. As long as an educational institution, whether belonging to the minority or the majority community, does not receive aid, it would, in our opinion, be its right and discretion to grant admission to such students as it chooses or selects subject to what has been clarified before. Out of the various rights that the minority institution has in the administration of the institution, Article 29(2) curtails the right to grant admission to a certain extent. By virtue of Article 29(2), no citizen can be denied admission by an aided minority institution on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them. It is no doubt true that Article 29(2) does curtail one of the powers of the minority institution, but on receiving aid, some of the rights that an unaided minority institution has, are also curtailed by Articles 28(1) and 28(3). A minority educational institution has a right to impart religious instruction — this right is taken away by Article 28(1), if that minority institution is maintained wholly out of State funds. Similarly on receiving aid out of State funds or on being recognized by the State, the absolute right of a minority institution requiring a student to attend religious instruction is curtailed by Article 28(3). If the curtailment of the right to administer a minority institution on receiving aid or being wholly maintained out of State funds as provided by Article 28 is valid, there is no reason why Article 29(2) should not be held to be applicable. There is nothing in the language of Articles 28(1) and (3), Article 29(2) and Article 30 to suggest that, on receiving aid, Articles 28(1) and (3) will apply, but Article 29(2) will not. Therefore, the contention that the institutions covered by Article 30 are outside the injunction of Article 29(2) cannot be accepted.
151. The right of the aided minority institution to preferably admit students of its community, when Article 29(2) was applicable, has been clarified by this Court over a decade ago in St. Stephen's College case, (1992) 1 SCC 558. While upholding the procedure for admitting students, this Court also held that aided minority educational institutions were entitled to preferably admit their community candidates so as to maintain the minority character of the institution, and that the State may regulate the intake in this category with due regard to the area that the institution was intended to serve, but that this intake should not be more than 50% in any case. Thus, St. Stephen's endeavoured to strike a balance between the two articles. Though we accept the ratio of St. Stephen's which has held the field for over a decade, we have compelling reservations in accepting the rigid percentage stipulated therein. As Article 29 and Article 30 apply not only to institutions of higher education but also to schools, a ceiling of 50% would not be proper. It will be more appropriate that, depending upon the level of the institution, whether it be a primary or secondary or high school or a college, professional or otherwise, and on the population and educational needs of the area in which the institution is to be located, the State properly balances the interests of all by providing for such a percentage of students of the minority community to be admitted, so as to adequately serve the interest of the community for which the institution was established.
152. At the same time, the admissions to aided institutions, whether awarded to minority or nonminority students, cannot be at the absolute sweet will and pleasure of the management of minority educational institutions. As the regulations to promote academic excellence and standards do not encroach upon the guaranteed rights Under Article 30, the aided minority educational institutions can be required to observe inter se merit amongst the eligible minority applicants and passage of common entrance test by the candidates, where there is one, with regard to admissions in professional and nonprofessional colleges. If there is no such test, a rational method of assessing comparative merit has to be evolved. As regards the non minority segment, admission may be on the basis of the common entrance test and counselling by a State agency. In the courses for which such a test and counselling are not in vogue, admission can be on the basis of relevant criteria for the determination of merit. It would be open to the State authorities to insist on allocating a certain percentage of seats to those belonging to weaker sections of society, from amongst the nonminority seats.