Supreme Court stays Allahabad High Court decision to scrap UP Madarsa Education Act [5.4.20204]

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Allahabad High Court ruling, which had deemed the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004, as “unconstitutional”.

While staying the order, the apex court called it an infringement on the principles of secularism and the fundamental rights enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution, according to media reports.

The SC bench, comprising Chief Justice D.Y.Chandrachud, deemed the High Court’s directive to integrate Madarsa students into regular schools as unnecessary. The top court set the final hearing for the second week of July. Till then, the High Court’s judgement and March 22 order would remain suspended, it added.

Uttar Pradesh has over 16,000 state-recognized madrasas.

Represented by an association of madarsa teachers, the petitioners argued that the ruling adversely affected the lives of numerous students.

The Bench, which also included Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, scrutinised the provisions of the Act and said, “they abundantly make it clear that the object and purpose of the statutory board which is constituted under the Act is regulatory in nature.”

Referencing Article 28(1) of the Constitution, which prohibits religious instruction in institutions funded by the state, the Court cited a 2002 judgement clarifying the term “religious instruction.”

The Supreme Court observed that if the aim of the PIL was to ensure the provision of secular education alongside religious teachings in madrasas, striking down the 2004 Act wouldn't be the solution. Instead, the court suggested issuing appropriate directives to ensure that students in these institutions receive a quality education comparable to that in other state-funded institutions.

05 Apr 2024