Allahabad HC Declares UP Board of Madrasa Education Act ‘unconstitutional’

UP Madarsa Board

In a landmark judgment, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has declared the ‘UP Board of Madrasa Education Act 2004’ unconstitutional for violating the principle of secularism.

Apart from striking down the law, a division bench of Justices Vivek Chaudhary and Subhash Vidyarthi directed the Uttar Pradesh government to prepare a plan to integrate students currently enrolled in madrassas into the formal education system.

The decision comes after the state government launched a survey of Islamic educational institutions in the state and a special investigation team (SIT) report in October 2023 to probe foreign funding to madrassas.

This decision of the High Court has come after hearing a writ petition filed by petitioner Anshuman Singh Rathod. The petition challenged, among other related issues, the validity of the UP Madrassa Board and the management of madrassas by the Minority Welfare Department.

In December 2023, the bench expressed concern about possible arbitrariness and stressed the need for transparency in the management of educational institutions. This underlined broader questions about whether such decisions followed the principles of level playing field and secular governance.

In fact, in October 2019, the High Court had referred some basic questions regarding the functioning and structure of the Madarsa Board to a larger bench. In which questions were raised whether including members of any specific religion in the Madrasa Board is in line with the purpose of the Board, which is not limited to religious education but includes various fields of study. Whether appointments to the Board should be based on expertise in relevant fields, irrespective of religious affiliation, in line with the secular Constitution of India and whether placing Madrassa education under the Department of Minority Welfare is arbitrary and deprives students of the benefit of educational expertise and policies Is.
After considering all these questions, Allahabad High Court ruled that the UP Madrasa Education Act 2004 is unconstitutional.

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-Ashish Kumar Sinha -Editor Legally Speaking -Ram Nath Goenka awardee - 14 Years of Experience in Media - Covering Courts Since 2008