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Minorities , Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

Minorities , Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

The Constitution makers provided for certain permanent and temporary provisions so as to bridge the gap between the conditions of the backward sections of the community and the entire nation . In an attempt to strengthen the democratic setup , these special provisions were incorporated so that the interest of minorities could be protected .

Minorities are in reference to the numeric strength , sharing the same culture or language but not religion . Although , our Constitution does not define minority but uses it în context of linguistic and cultural minorities under Article 29 of the Constitution . The Minority Rights are protected under Fundamental Rights [ Under Article 14 , 15 , 16 , 29 ( 2 ) ] , Directive Principles and in matters of elections . Even though , Hindi is the national language of India and Article 351 provides a special directive upon the State to promote the spread of Hindi , nevertheless, the object cannot be achieved by any means that contravene the rights guaranteed by Article 29 or 30 .


The Constitution under Article 29 ( 1 ) gives the right to a linguistic , cultural minority to preserve their language , script or culture . This right granted under the vice of the Constitution is an absolute right . The State cannot impose any language or culture on such sections of citizens . Furthermore , Clause ( 2 ) affords protection to citizens against any discrimination on grounds of religion , race , caste , language during admission to any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds . The protection under this clause is available to every citizen , whether in majority or minority . Article 15 ( 4 ) is an exception to this clause .

Article 29.Protection of interests of minorities .

( 1 ) Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part there of having a distinct language , script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same .

( 2 ) No citizen shall be denied admission intoany educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds ongrounds only of religion , race , caste , language or any of them . Under this Article ,protection to such linguistic or cultural minorities is provided so that any imposition of any language or culture other than their own . Thereby the State cannot deny to its citizensthe right to conserve their culture , language or script by implementing policies that nullify the effect of this right .


Under Article 30 ( 1 ) minorities , being linguistic or religious , have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice . This provision safeguards the interest of the minority from any State action , which denies them this right .

Article 30. Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions .-

( 1 ) All minorities , whether based on religion or language , shall have the right to establish and administereducational institutions of their choice . ( 1A ) In making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of an educational institution established and administered by a minority , referred to in clause ( 1 ) , the State shall ensure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for the acquisition of such property is such as would not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed under that clause .

( 2 ) The State shall not , in granting aid to educational institutions , discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority , whether based on religion or language . In the case of P.A Inamdar v . State of Maharashtra , the Supreme Court observed that the twin objects sought to be achieved by Article 30 ( 1 ) in the interest of minorities are :

( i ) to enable such minority to conserve its religion and language , and

( ii ) to give a thorough ,good general education to the children belonging to such minority .

The two rights provided under Article 30 are :

A. Right to establish an educational institution

B. Right toadminister such institution

However this right under Article 30 is not so absolute and cannot be such as to override the national interest or to prevent the government fromframing regulations in that behalf . However , the government regulations should not destroy the minority character of the institution or make the right to establish and administer a mere illusion . The regulations can be framed by the Government so as to ensure that the basic standard for imparting quality education is maintained and so as toprevent against maladministration .

The employment of expressions 'right to establish and administer and educational institution of their choice' in Article 30 ( 1 ) gives the right wide amplitude . Therefore , a minority educational institution has a right to admit students of its own choice , it can , as a matter of its own freewill , admit students of non - minority community . However , non - minority students cannot be forced upon it .

The only restriction on the freewill of the minority educational institution admitting students belonging to non - minority community is , as spelt out by Article 30 itself , that the manner and number of such admissions should not be violative of the minority character of the institution . The essence of Article 30 ( 1 ) is to ensure equal treatment between the majority and minority institutions .

Clause ( 1A ) has been added by theConstitution ( Forty - Fourth Amendment ) Act , 1978 so as to ensure payment of an amount / compensation for compulsory acquisition of land belonging to a minoritycommunity . The result of inserting this provision is that it protects the interest of theminority community against any action which otherwise is violative of their right underArticle 30 .

Clause ( 2 ) of Article 30 is a general provision stipulating that the State shall not discriminate against any educational institution on grounds that a religious or linguistic minority manages it .


Similar special provisions are incorporated for the Scheduled Caste ( SC ) and Scheduled Tribes ( ST ) in India . The people belonging to Scheduled Caste have sprung out of the oppressive caste system in the Hindu society , whereas the people belonging to Scheduled Tribes are the indigenous population practicing tribal ways . There is no concrete definition in theConstitution but the President has been given the power to bring out a list of SC and ST in consultation with the Governor of the State . However , it can only be varied by an Act of the Parliament . Furthermore , the Constitution provides special protection to these SC and ST under Article 15 and 16 among various other provisions . Special provisions are made in favour of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe to ban any discrimination on grounds of sex , race , caste and the like . [ Article 15 ]

Special provisions have been made under Article 335 whereby certain relaxations in qualifying marks in any examination or lowering the standards of evaluation , can be done for

members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes . [ Article 335 ]

Certain protections have been given under Article 339 through which the President may at any time and shall, at the expiration of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution by order appoint a Commission to report on the administration of the Scheduled Areas and the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in the States .

Furthermore, the executive of the Union extends to the giving of directions to a State as to the drawing up and execution ofschemes specified in the direction to be essential for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in the State . [ Article 339 ] power The State can make any law imposing reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the right under Article 19 in the interests of the general public or for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribes .


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