28 Jan 2023 7:36 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday said that religion is important in our country only when its relevant under the law, otherwise for all purposes India is a secular country. “Religion is important when it is important. How? When it is relevant under the law. Otherwise, we have a secular nation, everything we do, we have to imbibe that spirit. Both citizens and the state”, a bench...
The Supreme Court on Friday said that religion is important in our country only when its relevant under the law, otherwise for all purposes India is a secular country.
“Religion is important when it is important. How? When it is relevant under the law. Otherwise, we have a secular nation, everything we do, we have to imbibe that spirit. Both citizens and the state”, a bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna orally observed.
The Court was hearing a public interest litigation petition that sought enforcement of the Right to Education Act (RTE Act) in the educational institutions run by notified minorities. The petition prayed for the enforcement of Section 12(1)c of the Right to Education Act highlighting the issue of withdrawal of the pre-matric scholarship scheme for minorities.
The section requires non-minority private unaided schools to keep aside at least 25 per cent of their entry-level seats for students belonging to weaker sections of society.
During the hearing, the Court asked the petitioner why he had taken up the cause of right to education only for minority communities.
“Now, the problem is, they have given a list 18 states have admitted children u/s 12 (1) c (as reply to his petition under Right to Information Act). We are 29 states. That means it’s not being fully implemented”, the petitioner advocate said.
What do you mean by weaker sections? Is there a definition, the Bench asked while adding why the majority community was excluded.
“They stand at a different pedestal”, the advocate said.
“Your plea is for getting the benefit for the minority community. We have no problem with that”, the Bench observed.
If Section 12 (1) c if implemented, it will be for everyone, the advocate said.
“Your plea says Muslims so and so, Christians so and so….Why are you limiting it to the minority community alone? Members of all communities belonging to the weaker sections should get the benefit. Why is it that you have given special emphasis to the minority?
The advocate was of the view that the effect of non-implementation would be affecting the students of the minority communities more.
The bench noted that the prayers pointed to religious minorities in all states.
“If the section is implemented, the benefit will flow down to the religious minorities”, the advocate clarified. He then said that he would amend his pleadings.
“I will amend my prayer, I don't want the issue to die down”, the advocate said.
Subsequent to the Bench’s suggestion, the advocate then said that he would file a fresh plea.
“The petition is dismissed as withdrawn to with liberty to file a fresh plea”.
Case Title: Md Imran Ahmad And Ors. v. UoI And Ors. WP(C) No. 57/2023 PIL
Click Here To Read/Download Order