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Plea in SC challenging Assam govt's decision to convert madrassas to general schools

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New Delhi, May 31: A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging the Gauhati High Court order upholding The Assam Repealing Act, 2020, which allows provincialised (government-funded) Madrassas -to be converted into general schools in Assam.

Plea in SC challenging Assam govts decision to convert madrassas to general schools

"The appeal was filed through advocate Adeel Ahmed stated that High Court had erroneously observed that the "Petitioner Madrassas being government schools, and wholly maintained by the State through provincialisation are hit by Article 28(1) of the Constitution of India and as such, cannot be permitted to impart religious instruction," the plea said, as per news agency ANI.

On February 4, the High Cpirt dismissed the petition challenging the validity of the Act, saying the act applies for the government-funded provincialised Madrassas alone and not for private or community ones. Filing the appeal against February 4 order, Md Imad Uddin Barbhuiya and others sought a stay on the High Court order.

The Act had repealed two laws - the Assam Madrassa Education Provincialisation Act, 1995, and the Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialisation of Services of Employees and Reorganisation of Madrassa Educational Institutions) Act, 2018.

The appeal stated that the Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialisation) Act, 1995 (repealed by the Act of 2020) is only limited to the State undertaking to pay the salaries and provide consequential benefits to the teaching and non-teaching staff employed in madrassas as also the administration, management and control of these madrassas. "The land and building belonging to the madrassas are taken care of by the Petitioners and the expenditures on electricity and furniture are borne by the Petitioner madrassas themselves.

The repealing Act of 2020 takes away property coupled with statutory recognition of Madrassa education and the impugned order dated February 12, 2021, issued by the Governor disbands the 'Assam State Madrasa Board' created in 1954. It amounts to an arbitrary exercise of both legislative and executive powers and amounts to a denial of the Petitioner Madrassas' ability to continue as madrassas providing religious instruction coupled with religious education," it added.

Such an encroachment into the proprietary rights of the Petitioner Madrassas without payment of adequate compensation is a direct infraction of Article 30(1A) of the Constitution of India, appeal added. The operation of the High Court judgment would result in the discontinuation of the Petitioner Madrassas as Madrassas would prevent them from admitting students for the old courses for this academic year, stated the plea in the apex court.

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