Assam Move To Convert State-Funded Madrassas Clears High Court Challenge

Taxpayer-funded madrassas are not minority institutions established and administered by the minority, the Gauhati High Court ruled on Friday, dismissing a petition against a new law to convert them into regular schools.
Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia said the changes brought about by the legislative and executive action of the state are for ‘provincialised’ madrassas alone, which are government schools, and not for private or community ones.

“A preference given by the state to any one religion, in a multi-religious society like ours, negates the principle of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India. It is thus the secular nature of the State which mandates that no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of state funds,” the court said, dismissing a writ petition challenging the validity of the Assam Repealing Act, 2020 filed by 13 individuals last year.

The court had concluded the hearing on January 27 and had reserved its judgement, which was passed on Friday.

It also pointed out that the services of the teachers of these madrassas have not been dispensed away with and they will be trained for teaching other subjects if required.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had pushed the Assam Repeal Bill as the state education minister in 2020, posted on Koo:

The law was passed by Assam’s state assembly on December 30, 2020 and called for transforming all government-funded madrassas into general schools.

The state government has assured that there will be no change of status, pay, allowances and service conditions of the teaching and non-teaching staff of the madrassas under the Assam Repealing Act, which was passed during the tenure of the first BJP-led government in the state.

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