Allahabad High Court Declares UP Madrasa Education Act Unconstitutional

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The Allahabad High Court, by a verdict given on 22.3.2024  has declared the UP Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004 to be unconstitutional, being against the principle of secularism.

The full judgment is given below :

I agree with the verdict that madarsa education violates the constitutional principle of secularism. It also violates Article 21A of the Indian Constitution which declares the right to get education upto the age of 14 a fundamental right of every child. 

Education, to my mind, means modern, secular education, not the largely theological education imparted in madarsas or saraswati shishu mandirs, which inculcate bigotry, and brainwash the tender and susceptible minds of children with religious extremism.

No doubt in para 100 of the judgment the Court observed :

”Since there are a large number of madarsas and madarsa students in the State of U.P., the State Government is directed to take steps forthwith for accommodating these madarsa students in regular schools recognized under the Primary Education Board and schools recognized under the High School and Intermediate Education Board of State of U.P. The State Government for the said purpose shall ensure that as per requirement sufficient number of additional seats are created and further if required, sufficient number of new schools are established. The State Government shall also ensure that children between the ages of 6 to 14 years are not left without admission in duly recognized institutions ”

However this is easier said than done. Already the existing government secular schools are overcrowded ( some have 200 students in one section of a class, as I have myself seen ), and private schools are extremely expensive. 

It is estimated that there are 25,000 madarsas in UP, of which 18,500 are recognised by the UP Madarsa Education Board. There are about 25 lac ( 2.5 million ) students in these madarsas,and thousands of teachers.

So before closing down the existing madarsas, thousands of modern secular schools will have to be built, with proper classrooms, laboratories, libraries, etc and competent teachers and other staff appointed. This will require a huge outlay of funds, and careful planning, and cannot be done overnight..

I would also like to suggest a way to accomodate the thousands of teachers who will be rendered unemployed by the closure of madarsas.

I have delivered a judgment in 1993 in the Allahabad High Court, Ramesh Upadhya vs State of UP, in which I have recommended that Sanskrit and Urdu, our two great cultural language, should be made compulsory in every school in UP for 5 years upto class 8.

If this judgment is implemented a large number of posts of Urdu teachers will be created, and the teachers presently teaching in madarsas ( who would all be knowing Urdu ) can be appointed on those posts.

Also, on the same logic, saraswati shishu mandirs run by the RSS should also be closed down, and the students transferred to modern secular schools

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