Article 29 and 30 are the rights that provides cultural and religious rights to Indian citizens. Both provisions are produced herein below-
29(1)- Any Section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
(2) 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, language or any of them.
30(1)- All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
(2) The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.
Article 29(1) is wider than Article 30(1), in that
- while any Section of the citizens including the minorities, can invoke the rights guaranteed under Article 29(1),
- the rights guaranteed under Article 30(1) are only available to the minorities based on religion or language.
- It is not necessary for Article 30(1) that the minority should be both a religious minority as well as a linguistic minority. It is sufficient if it is one or the other or both.
A reading of these two Articles together would lead us to conclude that a religious or linguistic minority has a right to establish and administer educational institutions of its choice for effectively conserving its distinctive language, script or culture, which right however is subject to the regulatory power of the State for maintaining and facilitating the excellence of its standards.
This right is further subject to clause (2) of Article 29 which provides that no citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution which is maintained by the State or receives aid out of State funds, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
Are Article 29 and 30 are inter-linked?
These two articles are not inter- linked nor does it permit of their being always read together.
In Rev. Father W. Proost & Ors. v. State of Bihar & Ors. where while conceding that the Jesuits of Ranchi who were a religious minority established the petitioner Institution the St. Xaviers College which was admitting students of other communities also, the Attorney General had contended that as the protection to minorities in Article 29(1) is only a right to conserve a distinct language, script or culture of its own the College did not qualify for the protection of Article 30(1) because,
i) it was not founded to conserve them, and
(ii) it was open to all sections of people.
An attempt was made to read into the protection granted by Article 30(1) a corollary taken from Article 29(1). While conceding that the Jesuit community is a minority community based on religion and therefore it has a right to establish and administer educational institutions of its choice, it was contended that as the protection to minorities in Article 29(1) is only a right to conserve the distinct language, script or culture of its own, the College does not qualify for the protection of Article 30(1) because it is not founded to conserve them.
Hidayatullah, C. J., rejected the interpretation sought to be placed on Article 29(1) and 30(1) as if they have to be read together. At page 80 he said:
“In our opinion, the width of Article 30(1) cannot be cut down by introducing in it considerations on which Art. 29(1) is based. The latter article is a general protection which is given to minorities to conserve their language, script or culture. The former is a special right to minorities to establish educational institutions of their choice. This choice is not limited to institution, seeking to conserve language, script or culture and the choice is not taken away if the minority community having established an educational institution of its choice also admits members of other communities. That is a circumstance irrelevant for the application of Article 30(1) since no such limitation is expressed and none can be implied. The two articles create two separate rights, although it is possible that they may meet in a given case.”
DAV College v. State of Punjab, 1971 AIR 1737
The case is important on the articles 29 and 30. In the case, the court said,
“A linguistic minority for the purpose of Article 30(1) is one which must at least have a separate spoken language. It is not necessary that that language should also have a distinct script for those who speak it to be a linguistic minority. There are in this country some languages which have no script of their own, but nonetheless those sections of the people who speak that language will be a linguistic minority entitled to the protection of Article 30(1).”
For instance, in this case, DAV college trust, an organisation related to Arya Samaj, claimed its right of linguistic and religious minority in the state of Punjab when government of Punjab made compulsory ‘Gurumukhi’ in all colleges.
The court in answer of the petition decided that
“For the purposes of Article 29(1) even though it may not be necessary to enquire whether all the Hindus of Punjab as also the Arya Samajis speak Hindi as a spoken language, nonetheless, there can be no doubt that the script of the Arya Samajis is distinct from that of the Sikhs who form the majority. It is claimed that while the Sikhs have Gurmukhi as their script the Arya Samajis. have their own script which is the Devnagri script. Their claim to be written in Arya Bhasha- in Hindi languages and Devnagri character. All Aryas and Arya Sabhasads should know Arya Bhasha, Hindi or Sanskrit. The belief is that the name of the script Devnagri is derived from Deva and therefore has divine origin. From what has been stated it is clear that the Arya Samajis have a distinct script of their own, namely Devnagri. They are therefore entitled to invoke the right guaranteed under Article 29 (1) because they are a section of citizens having a distinct script and under Article 30 (1) because of their being a religious minority.”
Again, in the case, the court clarified that,
“The purpose and object of these linguistic states is to provide with greater facility the development of the people of that area educationally, socially and culturally, in the language of that region but while the State or the University has every right to provide for the education of the majority in the regional medium, it is subject to the restrictions contained in Article 25 to 30.
Neither the University nor the State can provide for imparting education in a medium of instruction in a language and script which stifles the language and script of any Section of the citizens. Such a course will trespass on the rights of those Sections of the citizens which have a distinct language or script and which they have a right to conserve through educational institutions of their own.”
D. A. V. College Etc. Vs State Of Punjab; 1971 AIR 1737, 1971 SCR 688
1969 AIR 465