Madrassas Law Insider

Tanisha Rana

Published on: November 1, 2022 at 21:10 IST

In an appeal against a Gauhati High Court judgment upholding the Assam Repealing Act of 2020, the Supreme Court on Tuesday requested the Assam government’s response. (Md Imad Uddin Barbhuiya vs. Assam and Ors.)

In response to a lawsuit challenging the judgement that effectively converted existing provincialized madrasas (Islamic schools) in the State of Assam into regular government schools, a bench comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravikumar issued a notice.

The Act had repealed two laws – the Assam Madrassa Education Provincialisation Act, 1995 and the Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialisation of Services of Employees and Reorganisation of Madrassa Educational Institutions) Act, 2018.

The petitioners’ argument that government-funded madrasas are minority institutions founded and run by the minority community was rejected by the High Court on February 4 of this year.

The High Court had stated that State madrasas cannot be considered to have been founded or managed by minority institutions because the whole teaching and non-teaching personnel of these educational institutions are government employees.

Former Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, who has since been elevated to the Supreme Court, penned the judgment.

One Md Imad Uddin Barbhuiya, through Advocate Adeel Ahmed, has brought the case before the Supreme Court.

It is argued that the High Court erroneously stated that because madrasas are state-run schools that are entirely funded by the government due to provincialization, they are ineligible for religious instruction under Article 28(1) of the Constitution.

The petitioners had argued before the High Court that their fundamental rights under Articles 14, 21, 25, 26, 29 and 30 of the Constitution had been violated by the Act’s conversion of minority institutions to government ones.

The Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialization) Act, 1995, which was repealed by the 2020 Act, is only limited to the State’s obligation to pay salaries and consequential benefits to teaching and non-teaching staff members employed in madrasas, as well as the administration, management, and control of these madrasas, according to the appeal.

However, it is argued that the repealing Act will seize the madrasas’ assets and restrict their ability to impart Islamic instruction.

It is also argued that if the High Court judgment were to take effect, the petitioner institutions would cease to function as madrasas and would be unable to accept students for the previous academic year’s courses.

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