UP Madarsa Education Act, 2004, unconstitutional, violative of principle of secularism: Allahabad HC

Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh): The Allahabad High Court on Friday declared the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004, "unconstitutional" and violative of the principle of secularism.

The Lucknow bench of Allahabad, while declaring the law as ultra vires, asked the state government to accommodate current students in the formal schooling system.

A division comprising Justice Vivek Chaudhary and Justice Subhash Vidyarthi passed the verdict on a writ petition filed by a person named Anshuman Singh Rathore.

"Since there are large numbers 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 UP. 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 bench said.

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, the bench added.

Anshuman Singh Rathore had challenged the constitutionality of the UP Madarsa Board as well as objected to the management of madarsa by the Minority Welfare Department, both by the Union of India and the state government.

"In view of the foregoing discussion, we hold that the Madarsa Act, 2004, is violative of the principle of Secularism, which is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution of India, violative of Articles 14, 21 and 21-A of the Constitution of India and violative of Section 22 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. Accordingly, the Madarsa Act,2004 is declared unconstitutional," the bench observed.

"Further, we are not deciding the validity of Section 1(5) of the R.T.E. Act as we have already held the Madarsa Act to be ultra vires and we are also informed by learned counsel for both the parties that in State of UP Vadik Pathshalas do not exist," it added. 

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