Friday, May 24, 2024

SC stays Allahabad HC order quashing UP Board of Madrasa Education Act

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Allahabad High Court’s March 22 judgment striking down the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act 2004 as unconstitutional.

The operative directions of the High Court would impact the future course of education of nearly 17 lakh students, the apex court noted.

“We are of the view that the issues raised in the petitions merit closer reflection. We are inclined to issue notice,” observed a bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandracuhd, Justice JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra.

The top court said that the High Court prima facie erred in understanding the provisions of the Act, which are regulatory in nature.

“In striking down the Act, the High Court prima facie misconstrued the provisions of the Act. The Act does not provide for any religious instruction. The object and purpose of the Statute is regulatory in character,” read the order.

It added: “If the concern was to ensure that the students of Madarsas receive quality education, the remedy would not lie in striking down the Madarsa Act but in issuing suitable directions to ensure that the students are not deprived of quality education.”

The state has a legitimate public interest to ensure all students get quality education; however, whether this purpose would require jettisoning the entire statute enacted in 2004 needed consideration, the Court said, Live Law reported.

Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhi, appearing for the Managers Association Madaris, submitted that the Madarsa regime was a status quo that existed for 120 years which is now disrupted suddenly, affecting 17 lakh students and 10,000 teachers.

“The reason why the Court should stay is, a regime is there uninterrupted for 120 years. 17 lakh students and 10,000 teachers cannot be absorbed (in the other schools) with the academic year ending. There will be chaos,” Singhvi said.

He also questioned the High Court’s reasoning that if religion is taught, it will amount to religious instruction and will violate secularism.

“We have also very famous Gurkuls, in Haridwar and Rishikesh, doing very good work. My father has a degree from there. Do you shut them down saying they are places of religious instructions?”, he asked.

The petitions were filed by Anjum Kadari, Managers Association Madaris Arabiya(UP), All India Teachers Association Madaris Arabiya (New Delhi), Manager Association Arbi Madarsa Nai Bazar and Teachers Association Madaris Arabiya Kanpur, according to Live Law.

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