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Gujarat HC gives UPA a lesson or two in ‘education secularism’


Jun 19, 2010
Ahmedabad, 12 October 2012
Pursuant to Sachar Committee’s
report on the social, economic and
educational status of Muslims in
India, the Prime Minister had
launched a 15-point Programme for
the Welfare of Minorities under which
a scheme for awarding pre-metric
educational scholarships to children
belonging to five specific minorities
was initiated.
The purpose of this Scheme was to
“encourage parents from minority
communities to send their school-
going-children to school, lighten their
financial burden on school education
and sustain their efforts to support
their children to complete school
The basic conditions of this Scheme
are: (a) the student concerned must
not get less than 50% marks in the
previous examination; (b) the annual
income of parents/guardian must not
exceed Rs. 1 lakh; and, most
controversially, (c) the student must
be a Muslim, Christian, Sikh,
Buddhist or Parsi.
Refusing to implement it in Gujarat
owing to the fact that it discriminated
between students on the basis of
religion alone, the Gujarat
Government stated that such a
Scheme would cover only 52,260
minority students as against 6 lakh
eligible pre-metric students falling
within the income criteria.
This led a Gujarat Congress member
Adam Chaki to file a Public Interest
Litigation in the Gujarat High Court
asking the Court to issue directions
to the Gujarat Government to
implement the Scheme. The Central
Government, through the Assistant
Solicitor General, supported the
stand taken by Chaki.
One of the arguments of Gujarat
Government was that the minority
communities in Gujarat are more
developed and educationally
advanced as compared to minorities
in many other States in the country
and even compared to people
belonging to the SC, ST, SEBC and
EBC categories. Therefore, targeting a
limited number of communities on
the basis of religion will create
‘heart-burning’ and discriminatory
feeling amongst the other low
income students.
And, particularly when Gujarat was
implementing as many as five
scholarship schemes covering all
eligible persons without limiting it to
particular minority communities, this
Scheme, according to Gujarat
Government, created a class within a
class and, that too, on the basis of
religion alone, something clearly
forbidden in the Constitution.

Interestingly, in an earlier petition
challenging the Prime Minister’s 15
Point Programme, the Gujarat High
Court had held in 2009 that “funds
utilized by States for … providing
education etc.” would not violate the
Constitution. The Bombay High Court
in 2011 ruled the same in an identical
Even the Supreme Court, in an
unrelated matter but one raising
similar issues, had held that when
expenditure is incurred by Central
and State Governments for other
religions and economic classes, there
is no ‘discrimination’ under to a
scheme which also gives facilities to
minorities on the basis of religion
Nonetheless, the Gujarat HC Bench,
consisting of the Chief Justice,
disagreed with these findings and
held that such a Scheme would
violate the Constitution. It relied
primarily on a 2005 Supreme Court
judgment (by a larger five-judge
Bench) which held that a “further
classification by way of micro-
classification” was not permissible
under the Constitution.
The Central Government, through this
Scheme, wanted to “make a micro-
classification among the weaker
sections of citizens on the basis of
religion alone”. Article 29(2) of the
Constitution clearly prohibited any
citizen from being denied aid out of
State funds on grounds only of
According to the Gujarat HC, the
following question was the yardstick
when determining the
constitutionality of such a Scheme:
“Will people from other
communities whose annual income
is less than Rs. 1 lakh and whose
children are equally (or more)
meritorious be deprived of
Government patronage only
because they belong to different
religions other than five minority
If the answer was in the affirmative –
which it clearly was – the Gujarat HC
could not order the Gujarat
Government to implement the
Since the earlier 2009
Gujarat HC judgment which upheld
the PM’s 15 Point Programme was
also by a two-judge Bench, this
matter has been referred to a larger
Bench for final adjudication.
How a larger Bench will decide on
this issue remains to be seen. For
the moment, however, the Gujarat
HC has expressed its displeasure with
the palpably blatant discrimination
inherent in the Scheme which has the
effect of depriving a poor child
securing 90% marks just because he
happened to belong to a religion
other than the religion of a
comparably poor child who secures
51% (and who, therefore, gets the
scholarship solely because of his

And, by ‘road-rolling’ minority
welfare schemes such as these, the
UPA has, in the words of the Gujarat
HC, “exposed the idea that there is
no necessity of socio-economic
upliftment of persons of even the
poorer and socially backward
strata with the help of Government
sponsorship unless they belong to
the five minority religions.”
The Gujarat judiciary has, with this
judgment, taught the UPA and
various State governments a lesson
or two on their version of secularism.
Because the version they are
practicing keeps drifting further and
further away from the constitutional
values our Founders thought India
would cherish and preserve.

Gujarat HC gives UPA a lesson or two in


May 7, 2011
kudos to guj hc....:tup:

what the upa does is not secularism...its balant minority appeasement....true secularism does not divide the people into majority and minority...true secularism says all citizens are equal before the law irrespective of the faith they belong to...


Sep 1, 2009
During British rule we would have called this 15 point programe from UPA

''Divide and Rule Policy''..

And now after 65 years of Independence we call it



Sep 1, 2009
Why not make the Education upto +2 Free for all to ride over all these controversies.

That's because alot of MP's and MLA's in our country own school's ,college's and any such rule will directly hit their source of income....

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