“Against Secularism”: Allahabad HC declares Madarssa Act Unconstitutional

Read Time: 05 minutes

The Allahabad High Court has said that Madarssa’s Education is against the principles of secularism & the state must effectuate that children currently partaking religious study in the schools be accommodated in the formal education system.

A bench of Justice Vivek Chaudhary and Justice Subhash Vidyarthi has thus declared the U.P. Board of Madarsa Education Act 2004 as unconstitutional.

Vide an Order by Justice Subhash Vidyarthi on October 23, 2019, the following questions were referred to a Larger Bench in Writ Petition titled Mohammad Javed Vs. State of U.P. and others:

"(i) Since the Madarsa Board is constituted for education in 'Arbic, Urdu, Parsian, Islamic-studies, Tibb Logic, Philosophy and includes such other branches of learning as may be specified by the Board from time to time', how come persons of a particular religion are provided to be member of the same? It does not talks about exponence in the aforesaid fields, for the purposes of which the Board is constituted, but persons of specific religion. It was put to learned Additional Chief Standing Counsel as to whether the purpose of the Board is to impart religious education only, to which he submits that a perusal of the Madarsa Education Act, 2004 does not indicate so.

(ii) With a secular constitution in India can persons of a particular religion be appointed/nominated in a Board for education purposes or it should be persons belonging to any religion, who are exponent in the fields for the purposes of which the Board is constituted or such persons should be appointed, without any regard to religion, who are exponent in the field for the purposes of which the Board is constituted?

(iii) The Act further provides the Board to function under the Minority Welfare Ministry of State of U.P., hence, a question arises as to whether it is arbitrary for providing the Madarsa education to be run under the Minority Welfare Department while all the other education institutions including those belonging to other minorities communities like Jains, Sikhs, Christians etc being run under the Education Ministry and whether it arbitrarily denies the benefit of experts of education and their policies to the children studying in Madarsa?"

Earlier, the court had sought replies by ministries as the issue involved children’s education. 

Case Title: Anshuman Singh Rathore v. Union Of India Thru. Secy. Ministry Of Edu. New Delhi And 3 Others