Taxpayer-funded madrassas are not minority institutions established and run by the minority, Gauhati’s supreme court ruled Friday, rejecting a petition against a new law to convert them into mainstream schools.
Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Judge Soumitra Saikia said the changes brought about by the state’s legislative and executive measures are only for “provincialized” madrassas, which are government schools, not private or community schools.
“A preference given by the state to a religion, in a multi-faith society like ours, negates the principle of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India. Thus, it is the secular nature of the state that requires that no religious instruction will be provided in any educational institution fully serviced by state funds,” the court said, dismissing a subpoena challenging the validity of the Assam Repeal Act, 2020 filed by 13 individuals last year.
The court had closed the hearing on January 27 and had reserved its verdict, which was delivered on Friday.
It also pointed out that the services of the teachers of these madrassas have not been left out and they will be trained to teach other subjects if necessary.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had pushed the Assam Repeal Bill as Minister of State Education in 2020, posted on Koo:
]The law was passed by the Assam state assembly on December 30, 2020, calling for all government-funded madrassas to be converted into general schools.
The state government has assured that there will be no change in the status, remuneration, allowances and terms of service of the teaching and non-teaching staff of the madrassas under the Assam Repeal Act passed during the tenure of the first BJP-led government in the state.