DMPQ- “Article 29 and article 30 provide protections to minorities.” Elucidate.

. Article 29 provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same. Further, no citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, or language.

The first provision protects the right of a group while the second provision guarantees the right of a citizen as an individual irrespective of the community to which he belongs. Article 29 grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities. However, the Supreme Court held that the scope of this article is not necessarily restricted to minorities only, as it is commonly assumed to be. This is because of the use of words ‘section of citizens’ in the Article that include minorities as well as majority.

The Supreme Court also held that the right to conserve the language includes the right to agitate for the protection of the language. Hence, the political speeches or promises made for the conservation of the language of a section of the citizens does not amount to corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Article 30 grants the following rights to minorities, whether religious or linguistic:

  • All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  • The compensation amount fixed by the State for the compulsory acquisition of any property of a minority educational institution shall not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed to them. This provision was added by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 to protect the right of minorities in this regard. The Act deleted the right to property as a Fundamental Right (Article 31).
  • In granting aid, the State shall not discriminate against any educational institution managed by a minority.

Thus, the protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does not extend to any section of citizens (as under Article 29). However, the term ‘minority’ has not been defined anywhere in the Constitution. The right under Article 30 also includes the right of a minority to impart education to its children in its own language.

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