The National Committee for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has applied to intervene before the Allahabad High Court in a matter relating to the issue of religious education imparted at government expense.

In March, the High Commission directed the central and state governments to submit their responses to explain how funding provided by the state finance ministry is used for religious education and whether this could violate Articles 14, 25, 26, 29 and 30 of the Constitution of India.

In the application for intervention filed by attorneys Swarupama Chaturvedi, Saumya Kapoor and Rakshit Raj Singh in the case of Azaj Ahmad v. State of UP, the committee stated that the matter before the court required serious consideration and therefore, it is seeking the assistance of the court.

According to the application: “The education imparted to children in religious schools is not adequate/inclusive and is therefore contrary to the provisions of the Right to Education Act 2009 (RTE Act)”.

The application states that “Such institutes also provide Islamic religious education to non-Muslims which is a violation of Article 28 (3) of the Constitution of India.”

The NCPCR also claims that because the RTE Act does not apply to minority institutions, children in religious schools are denied the facilities, benefits, and entitlements that are provided to students attending mainstream schools.

Further, the NCPCR states that a school, as defined under the RTE Act, is any recognized school that provides elementary education and a state cannot facilitate such activity other than the RTE Act which would be a violation of Section 21A of the Constitution.

“Religious schools outside this definition have no right to compel children or their families to receive the education of the school. A school is not only an unsuitable/inappropriate place to receive a ‘basic’ education but also to be run in the absence of benefits for children as provided in Sections 19 and 21 and 22, 23, 24, 25 and 29 of the RTE Act, 2009”.

Furthermore, the application stated that religious schools not only offer an unsatisfactory model of education, but also have an arbitrary style of operation in the absence of curricula and assessment procedures as laid down in Section 29 of the RTE Act 2009.

Furthermore, according to the NCPCR, the commission has received numerous complaints alleging that religious schools are operated in an arbitrary manner and are run in sweeping violation of the constitutional mandate, the Right to Education Act, and the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.

“When looking at the various complaints received by the National Council from various sources, it is noted that children belonging to non-Muslim communities attend government funded/recognized schools and receive religious education and instruction,” says the National Commission.

The National Council for Public Relations and Democracy further states that it has received complaints alleging that the Council for Education in Religious Schools pressures parents of school employees to force their children to attend school. “It is pertinent to stress that this is a flagrant violation and contravention of Section 28 (3) of the Constitution of India which prohibits educational institutions from compelling children to participate in any religious education without parental consent,” the petition read.

“It cannot be overlooked that a child who receives an education in such an institution would be devoid of the basic knowledge of the school curriculum which is provided in the school,” states the NCPCR.

The NCPCR is also concerned about the madrassas operating in India under the Darul Uloom Deoband. NCPCR argued that “it allows corporal punishment of children attending schools in India as well, while inflicting corporal punishment on children in schools is strictly prohibited by the RTE Act 2009”.

The Supreme Court sought the governments responses in the petition filed by one of the teachers Azaj Ahmed, a teacher in a school located in Samadhaniya Islamia, Chodnipur, Jaunpur district in relation to his salary dispute.

In dealing with the case at hand, the court noted that the school in question, besides the regular curriculum, was also imparting religious education.

Read all the latest India news and Karnataka elections 2023 update here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *