GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has upheld an Act passed by Assam Assembly last year to repeal the Madrassa Education Provincialisation Act.
All government-run Madrassas in Assam were abolished and over 620 such institutions converted into general schools from April 1 last year as the Assam Repealing Act, 2020 – got the Governor’s assent as it passed by the Assembly on December 30, 2020.
Upholding the constitutional validity of the Assam Repealing Act 2020, a division bench of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia dismissed a writ petition filed by 13 petitioners.
“Consequently, the claim of the petitioners that these madrasas are minority institutions and were established and administered by the minority is a claim which has no foundation, hence it is not acceptable,” the court said.
The HC said that under the Constitution, all citizens are equal before the law.
“Therefore, 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,” the court maintained.
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 added.
The managing committees of many madrassas had opposed the state government’s decision and approached the High Court, claiming that the standard operating procedures for converting the madrassas into regular and general schools violated Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution.
Hailing the High Court order, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma termed it as a landmark judgment.
In December 2020, the Assam cabinet approved the proposal to repeal the Madrassas and Sanskrit tolls (schools) and turn them into the general schools.