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Monday, May 12, 2014

Education - clause (5) of Art. 15 of Constitution - Constitutional Validity of Admission to socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in to Minority Institutions - Constitution Bend declared as unconstitutional - we hold that the Constitution (Ninety-third Amendment) Act, 2005 inserting clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution and the Constitution (Eighty-Sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserting Article 21A of the Constitution do not alter the basic structure or framework of the Constitution and are constitutionally valid. We also hold that the 2009 Act is not ultra vires Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. We, however, hold that the 2009 Act insofar as it applies to minority schools, aided or unaided, covered under clause (1) of Article 30 of the Constitution is ultra vires the Constitution. Accordingly, Writ Petition (C) No.1081 of 2013 filed on behalf of Muslim Minority Schools Managers’ Association is allowed and Writ Petition (C) Nos.416 of 2012, 152 of 2013, 60 of 2014, 95 of 2014, 106 of 2014, 128 of 2014, 144 of 2014, 145 of 2014, 160 of 2014 and 136 of 2014 filed on behalf of non-minority private unaided educational institutions are dismissed. = Pramati Educational & Cultural Trust ® & Ors. … Petitioners Versus Union of India & Ors. … Respondents = 2014 ( May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41505

Education - clause (5) of Art. 15 of Constitution - Constitutional Validity of Admission to socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for  the  Scheduled Castes or  the  Scheduled Tribes in to Minority Institutions - Constitution Bend declared as unconstitutional - we hold that the Constitution (Ninety-third  Amendment) Act, 2005 inserting clause (5) of Article 15 of  the  Constitution  and  the Constitution (Eighty-Sixth Amendment) Act, 2002  inserting  Article  21A  of the Constitution do not alter  the  basic  structure  or  framework  of  the Constitution and are constitutionally valid.  We also  hold  that  the  2009 Act is not ultra vires Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.  We,  however, hold that the 2009 Act insofar as it applies to minority schools, aided  or unaided, covered under clause (1) of  Article  30  of  the  Constitution  is ultra vires the Constitution.  Accordingly, Writ  Petition  (C)  No.1081  of 2013 filed on behalf of Muslim Minority  Schools  Managers’  Association  is allowed and Writ Petition (C) Nos.416 of 2012, 152 of 2013, 60 of  2014,  95 of 2014, 106 of 2014, 128 of 2014, 144 of 2014, 145 of  2014,  160  of  2014 and 136 of 2014 filed on behalf of non-minority private unaided  educational
institutions are dismissed. =

we are called upon  to  decide  on
the validity of clause (5) of Article 15 of  the  Constitution  inserted  by
the  Constitution  (Ninety-third  Amendment)  Act,  2005  with  effect  from
20.01.2006 and on the validity of Article 21A of the  Constitution  inserted
by the Constitution (Eighty-Sixth Amendment)  Act,  2002  with  effect  from
01.04.2010.

   2. Clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution reads as follows:
          “Nothing in this article or in sub-clause (g) of  clause  (1)  of
          article 19 shall  prevent  the  State  from  making  any  special
          provision, by law,  for  the  advancement  of  any  socially  and
          educationally backward classes of citizens or for  the  Scheduled
          Castes or  the  Scheduled  Tribes  in  so  far  as  such  special
          provisions relate to their admission to educational  institutions
          including private  educational  institutions,  whether  aided  or
          unaided  by  the  State,  other  than  the  minority  educational
          institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30.” =

When we look at the 2009 Act, we find that Section 12(1)(b) read  with
Section 2(n) (iii) provides that an aided school receiving aid  and  grants,
whole or part, of its expenses from the appropriate Government or the  local
authority has to provide free and compulsory education  to  such  proportion
of children admitted therein as  its  annual  recurring  aid  or  grants  so
received bears to its annual recurring expenses, subject  to  a  minimum  of
twenty-five per cent.  Thus, a minority aided school is put  under  a  legal
obligation to provide free and compulsory elementary education  to  children
who need not be children of members of  the  minority  community  which  has
established the school.  We also find  that  under  Section  12(1)(c)   read
with Section 2(n)(iv), an unaided school has to admit into  twenty-five  per
cent of the strength of class I children belonging to  weaker  sections  and
disadvantaged groups in the neighbourhood.  Hence, unaided minority  schools
will have a legal obligation to admit children belonging to weaker  sections
and disadvantaged groups in the neighbourhood who need not  be  children  of
the members of the minority community  which  has  established  the  school.
While  discussing  the  validity  of  clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of   the
Constitution, we have held  that  members  of  communities  other  than  the
minority community which has established the school cannot be forced upon  a
minority institution because that may destroy the minority character of  the
school. In our view,  if  the  2009  Act  is  made  applicable  to  minority
schools, aided or unaided, the right of the minorities under  Article  30(1)
of the Constitution will be abrogated. Therefore, the 2009  Act  insofar  it
is made applicable to minority schools referred in clause (1) of Article  30
of the Constitution is ultra vires the Constitution.  We  are  thus  of  the
view that the majority  judgment  of  this  Court  in  Society  for  Unaided
Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India & Anr. (supra) insofar as  it
holds that the 2009 Act is applicable  to  aided  minority  schools  is  not
correct.

47.   In the result, we hold that the Constitution (Ninety-third  Amendment)
Act, 2005 inserting clause (5) of Article 15 of  the  Constitution  and  the
Constitution (Eighty-Sixth Amendment) Act, 2002  inserting  Article  21A  of
the Constitution do not alter  the  basic  structure  or  framework  of  the
Constitution and are constitutionally valid.  We also  hold  that  the  2009
Act is not ultra vires Article 19(1)(g) of the  Constitution.  We,  however,
hold that the 2009 Act insofar as it applies to minority schools,  aided  or
unaided, covered under clause (1) of  Article  30  of  the  Constitution  is
ultra vires the Constitution.  Accordingly, Writ  Petition  (C)  No.1081  of
2013 filed on behalf of Muslim Minority  Schools  Managers’  Association  is
allowed and Writ Petition (C) Nos.416 of 2012, 152 of 2013, 60 of  2014,  95
of 2014, 106 of 2014, 128 of 2014, 144 of 2014, 145 of  2014,  160  of  2014
and 136 of 2014 filed on behalf of non-minority private unaided  educational
institutions are dismissed.  All I.As.  stand  disposed  of.   The  parties,
however, shall bear their own costs. 

2014 ( May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41505

R.M. LODHA, A.K. PATNAIK, SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, DIPAK MISRA, FAKKIR MOHAMED IBRAHIM KALIFULLA
                                                                  Reportable

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

                      WRIT PETITION (C) No. 416 OF 2012

Pramati Educational & Cultural
Trust ® & Ors.                                                 …
Petitioners

                                   Versus

Union of India & Ors.                                    … Respondents


                                    WITH

                     WRIT PETITION (C) No. 152 OF 2013,
                     WRIT PETITION (C) No.1081 OF 2013,
                     WRIT PETITION (C)  No.  60 OF 2014,
                     WRIT PETITION (C) No.   95 OF 2014,
                      WRIT PETITION (C) No.106 OF 2014,
                      WRIT PETITION (C) No.128 OF 2014,
                      WRIT PETITION (C) No.144 OF 2014,
                      WRIT PETITION (C) No.145 OF 2014,
                      WRIT PETITION (C) No.160 OF 2014,
                                     AND
                      WRIT PETITION (C) No.136 OF 2014





                               J U D G M E N T

A. K. PATNAIK, J.


      This is a reference made by a  three-Judge  Bench  of  this  Court  by
order dated 06.09.2010 in Society for Unaided Private Schools  of  Rajasthan
v. Union of India & Anr. [(2012) 6 SCC 102] to  a  Constitution  Bench.   As
per the aforesaid order dated 06.09.2010, we are called upon  to  decide  on
the validity of clause (5) of Article 15 of  the  Constitution  inserted  by
the  Constitution  (Ninety-third  Amendment)  Act,  2005  with  effect  from
20.01.2006 and on the validity of Article 21A of the  Constitution  inserted
by the Constitution (Eighty-Sixth Amendment)  Act,  2002  with  effect  from
01.04.2010.

   2. Clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution reads as follows:
          “Nothing in this article or in sub-clause (g) of  clause  (1)  of
          article 19 shall  prevent  the  State  from  making  any  special
          provision, by law,  for  the  advancement  of  any  socially  and
          educationally backward classes of citizens or for  the  Scheduled
          Castes or  the  Scheduled  Tribes  in  so  far  as  such  special
          provisions relate to their admission to educational  institutions
          including private  educational  institutions,  whether  aided  or
          unaided  by  the  State,  other  than  the  minority  educational
          institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30.”

Clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution, therefore, enables  the  State
to make a special provision, by law, for the  advancement  of  socially  and
educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled  Castes  and
Scheduled  Tribes  insofar  as  such  special  provisions  relate  to  their
admission  to  educational  institutions   including   private   educational
institutions, whether  aided  or  unaided  by  the  State,  other  than  the
minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1)  of  Article  30
of the Constitution.  The constitutional validity of clause (5)  of  Article
15 of the Constitution insofar as it  enables  the  State  to  make  special
provisions relating to admission to educational institutions  of  the  State
and educational  institutions  aided  by  the  State  was  considered  by  a
Constitution Bench of this Court in Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India  &
Ors. [(2008) 6 SCC 1] and the Constitution Bench held in the aforesaid  case
that clause (5) of Article 15 is valid  and  does  not  violate  the  “basic
structure” of the Constitution so far as it relates to the  State-maintained
institutions and aided educational  institutions.  In  the  aforesaid  case,
however, the Constitution Bench left open the question  whether  clause  (5)
of Article 15 was constitutionally valid or not so far as “private  unaided”
educational  institutions  are  concerned,   as   such   “private   unaided”
educational institutions were not before the  Court.   This  batch  of  writ
petitions has been filed by private unaided educational institutions and  we
are called  upon  to  decide  whether  clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
Constitution  so  far  as  it  relates  to  “private  unaided”   educational
institutions is valid and does  not  violate  the  basic  structure  of  the
Constitution.

   3. Article 21A of the Constitution reads as follows:


      “21A. Right to education.--The State shall provide free and compulsory
      education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in  such
      manner as the State may, by law, determine.".


Thus, Article 21A of  the  Constitution,  provides  that  the  State  shall
provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six  to
fourteen years in  such  manner  as  the  State  may,  by  law,  determine.
Parliament has made the law contemplated by Article  21A  by  enacting  the
Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education  Act,  2009  (for  short
‘the  2009  Act’).   The  constitutional  validity  of  the  2009  Act  was
considered by a three-Judge Bench of  the  Court  in  Society  for  Unaided
Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India & Anr.  [(2012)  6  SCC  1].
Two of the three Judges have held  the  2009  Act  to  be  constitutionally
valid, but they have also held that the  2009  Act  is  not  applicable  to
unaided minority schools protected under Article 30(1) of the Constitution.
 In the aforesaid case, however, the three-Judge Bench did not go into  the
question  whether  clause  (5)  of  Article  15  or  Article  21A  of   the
Constitution is valid and does not  violate  the  basic  structure  of  the
Constitution.  In this batch of the writ petitions filed by private unaided
institutions, the constitutional validity of clause (5) of Article  15  and
of Article 21A has to be decided by this Constitution Bench.

4.    Both clause (5) of Article 15 and Article 21A were  inserted  in  the
Constitution by Parliament by exercise of  its  power  of  amendment  under
Article 368 of the Constitution.  A Bench of thirteen-Judges of this  Court
in His Holiness Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru v.  State  of  Kerala  &
Anr. [(1973) 4 SCC 225] considered the  scope  of  the  amending  power  of
Parliament under Article 368 of the Constitution and the  majority  of  the
Judges held that Article 368 does not enable Parliament to alter the  basic
structure or framework of the Constitution.  Hence, we are called  upon  to
decide in this reference the following two substantial questions of law:

     i) Whether by inserting clause (5) in Article 15 of the  Constitution
        by the Constitution (Ninety-third Amendment) Act, 2005, Parliament
        has altered the basic structure or framework of the Constitution.


    ii) Whether by inserting  Article  21A  of  the  Constitution  by  the
        Constitution (Eighty-Sixth Amendment) Act,  2002,  Parliament  has
        altered the basic structure or framework of the Constitution.

Validity of clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution

Contentions of learned counsel for the petitioners:


5.    Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, learned senior counsel for the petitioners in  Writ
Petition (C) No.416 of 2012, submitted that in T.M.A. Pai Foundation  &  Ors
v. State of Karnataka & Ors. [(2002) 8 SCC 481] the majority of  the  Judges
of the eleven-Judge Bench speaking through Kirpal C.J. have  held  that  the
fundamental right to carry on any occupation under Article 19(1)(g)  of  the
Constitution includes the right to run  and  administer  a  private  unaided
educational institution.  He submitted that in Minerva Mills Ltd. & Ors.  v.
Union of India & Ors. [(1980) 3  SCC  625]  Chandrachud,  CJ.,  writing  the
judgment for the majority of the Judges of the Constitution Bench, has  held
that Articles 14, 19 and  21  of  the  Constitution  constitute  the  golden
triangle which affords to the people of this country an assurance  that  the
promise held forth  by  the  Preamble  will  be  performed  by  ushering  an
egalitarian era through the  discipline  of  fundamental  rights,  that  is,
without emasculation of the rights to liberty and equality which  alone  can
help preserve the dignity of the  individual.   He  submitted  that  in  the
aforesaid  case,  the  Constitution  Bench  held  that  Section  4  of   the
Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act is beyond the  amending  power  of
Parliament and is void since it damages the basic or essential  features  of
the Constitution and destroys its basic structure by a  total  exclusion  of
challenge to any law on the ground that it is inconsistent  with,  or  takes
away or abridges any of the rights conferred by Article 14 or  Article 19 of
the Constitution.  Mr.  Rohatgi  submitted  that  Article  19(1)(g)  of  the
Constitution is, therefore, a basic feature of  the  Constitution  and  this
basic feature is destroyed by providing in clause (5) of Article 15  of  the
Constitution that nothing in Article  19(1)(g)  of  the  Constitution  shall
prevent the State from  making  any  special  provision,  by  law,  for  the
advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes  of  citizens
or for the Scheduled Castes or the  Scheduled  Tribes  in  so  far  as  such
special provisions relate to their  admission  to  educational  institutions
including private educational institutions.  Mr. Rohatgi  explained  that  a
nine-Judge Bench of this Court in I.R. Coelho (Dead) by  LRs.  v.  State  of
T.N. [(2007) 2 SCC 1] relying on the aforesaid  judgment  in  Minerva  Mills
case (supra) has  similarly  held  that  Articles  14,  19  and  21  of  the
Constitution  stand  on  altogether  a  different  footing  and  after   the
evolution of the basic structure doctrine in  Kesavananda  Bharati  (supra),
it will not  be  open  to  immunize  legislation  made  by  Parliament  from
judicial scrutiny on the ground that these fundamental rights are  not  part
of the basic structure of  the  Constitution.   He  submitted  that  in  the
aforesaid judgment, this Court, therefore, has also held that the  existence
of the  power  of  Parliament  to  amend  the  Constitution  at  will,  with
requisite voting strength, so as to make any  kind  of  laws  that  excludes
Part  III  including  the  power  of  judicial  review  under  Article 32 is
incompatible with the basic structure of the  Constitution  and,  therefore,
such an exercise, if challenged, has to  be  tested  on  the  touchstone  of
basic  structure  as  reflected  in  Article 21 read   with   Article 14 and
Article 19 of the Constitution.  Mr. Rohatgi  submitted  that  Bhandari,  J.
has taken the view in Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union  of  India  (supra)  that
the imposition of reservation on unaided institutions  by  the  Ninety-third
Amendment  has  abrogated  Article 19(1)(g),  a   basic   feature   of   the
Constitution and, therefore, the Ninety-third Amendment of the  Constitution
is ultra vires the Constitution.

6.    Mr. R.F. Nariman, learned senior counsel for the petitioners  in  Writ
Petition (C ) No.128 of 2014, submitted that clause (5)  of  Article  15  of
the Constitution is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution inasmuch  as
it treats unequals as equals.  He argued that clause (5) of  Article  15  of
the Constitution fails to make  a  distinction  between  aided  and  unaided
educational institutions and treats both aided  and  unaided  alike  in  the
matter  of  making  special  provisions  for  advancement  of  socially  and
educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled  Castes  and
the Scheduled Tribes insofar as such  special  provisions  relate  to  their
admission to such educational institutions.   He referred  to  paragraph  55
of the majority judgment of this Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation  (supra)  in
which the difference in the administration of private  unaided  institutions
and government-aided institutions has been noticed.  He argued  that  clause
(5) of Article 15 of the Constitution as its very  language  indicates  does
not apply to minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1)  of
Article 30 of the Constitution.  He submitted  that  Article  14  is,  thus,
violated  because  aided  minority   institutions   and   unaided   minority
institutions cannot be treated alike.  Clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
Constitution, therefore, is discriminatory and  violative  of  the  equality
clause in Article 14 of the Constitution, which is a basic  feature  of  the
Constitution.

7.     Mr. Nariman next submitted that clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
Constitution is a clear violation of Article 19(1)(g) of  the  Constitution,
inasmuch as it compels private educational institutions to give up  a  share
of the available seats to the  candidates  chosen  by  the  State  and  such
appropriation of  seats  would  not  be  a  regulatory  measure  and  not  a
reasonable  restriction  on  the  right  under  Article  19(1)(g)   of   the
Constitution within the meaning of Article 19(6) of  the  Constitution.   He
referred to the observations of this Court in P.A. Inamdar & Ors.  v.  State
of Maharashtra & Ors. [(2005) 6 SCC 537] in paragraph 125 at page  601  that
private  educational  institutions,   which   intend   to   provide   better
professional education, cannot be forced by the  State  to  make  admissions
available on the basis of reservation policy to less meritorious  candidates
and that unaided institutions, as they are not deriving any aid  from  State
funds, should have their own admissions following a  fair,  transparent  and
non-exploitative method based on merit.  He vehemently submitted  that  when
reservation in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled  Tribes  and
other socially and educationally backward classes of  citizens  is  made  in
admission  to  private  educational   institutions   and   unaided   private
educational  institutions   by   the   State,   such   private   educational
institutions will no longer be institutions  of  excellence.   He  submitted
that in T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra), the majority of the Judges have  held
that private unaided educational institutions impart education and that  the
State cannot take away the choice in matters of selection  of  students  for
admission and clause (5) of Article 15 of the  Constitution  insofar  as  it
enables the State to take away this choice  for  admission  of  students  is
violative of freedom  of  private  educational  institutions  under  Article
19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

8.    Mr. Nariman next submitted that in Mohini  Jain  (Miss)  v.  State  of
Karnataka & Ors. [(1992) 3 SCC 666], this Court has held that the “right  to
life” is a compendious expression with all those  rights  which  the  Courts
must enforce because they are basic to the dignified enjoyment of  life  and
that  the  dignity  of  an  individual  cannot  be  assured  unless  it   is
accompanied by the right to education.   He  submitted  that  under  Article
51A(j) of the Constitution, it is a  duty  of  every  citizen  of  India  to
strive towards excellence  in  all  spheres  of  individual  and  collective
activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels  of  endeavour
and  achievement.   He  argued  that  every  citizen  can   strive   towards
excellence through education by  studying  in  educational  institutions  of
excellence.  He submitted that clause (5) of Article 15 of the  Constitution
in so far as it enables the State to make  special  provisions  relating  to
admission   to   private   educational   institutions   for   socially   and
educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled  Castes  and
the Scheduled Tribes will affect also this right under Article 21 read  with
Article 51A(j) of the Constitution.

9.     Mr.  Nariman  submitted  that  clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of   the
Constitution has been brought in by an amendment to  achieve  the  Directive
Principles of State Policy in Part IV of the Constitution  as  well  as  the
goals of social and  economic  justice  set  out  in  the  Preamble  of  the
Constitution, but the majority of the Judges speaking  through  Chandrachud,
CJ., have held in Minerva Mills case (supra) that the goals set out in  Part
IV of the Constitution have to be achieved without  the  abrogation  of  the
means provided for by Part III of the Constitution.  He  submitted  that  in
the aforesaid majority judgment in Minerva Mills case  (supra)  authored  by
Chandrachud, CJ., it has also been observed that Parts III and  IV  together
constitute the core of our  Constitution  and  anything  that  destroys  the
balance between the two parts will ipso facto destroy an  essential  element
of the basic structure of our Constitution.  He submitted  that  clause  (5)
of Article 15 of the Constitution inasmuch as it is  violative  of  Articles
14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution destroys the basic  feature  of  the
Constitution and is, therefore, beyond the amending power of Parliament.

10.    Dr.  Rajeev  Dhavan,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing   for   the
petitioners in W.P.(C) No.152 of 2013, submitted that two tests have  to  be
applied for determining whether a constitutional amendment is  violative  of
basic structure in so far as it affects fundamental rights,  and  these  two
tests are the ‘identity test’ and the ‘width test’.  He submitted  that  the
Court has to see whether the identity of a fundamental right  as  judicially
determined is not destroyed by the width of  the  power  introduced  by  the
amendment of the Constitution and if the conclusion is  that  the  width  of
the power of the State vested by the constitutional amendment is such as  to
destroy the essence of the right, the amendment can be held to  destroy  the
basic structure of the Constitution.  In  support  of  this  proposition  he
relied on the judgment of this Court in M. Nagaraj and Others  v.  Union  of
India and Others [(2006) 8 SCC 212].

11.   Mr. Dhavan submitted that in T.M.A. Pai Foundation  case  (supra)  the
majority judgment has determined the content  of  the  right  of  a  private
educational institution under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution  and  the
content  of  this  right  comprises  the  (a)  charity,  (b)  autonomy,  (c)
voluntariness, (d) non-sharing of seats between the  State  Governments  and
the  private  institutions,   (e)   co-optation   and   (f)   reasonableness
principles.  He submitted that clause (5) of Article 15 of the  Constitution
inserted by Parliament by way of amendment, however, provides  that  nothing
in Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution shall prevent the State from  making
any  special  provision,  by  law,  for  admission  to  private  educational
institutions of persons belonging to  socially  and  educationally  backward
classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes  or  the  Scheduled  Tribes.
He vehemently argued that by clause (5) of Article 15  of  the  Constitution
the power that is vested in the State  is  such  that  it  can  destroy  the
essence of the  right  of  private  educational  institution  under  Article
19(1)(g) of the Constitution as determined  by  this  Court  in  T.M.A.  Pai
Foundation  case  (supra)  and  therefore   the   constitutional   amendment
inserting clause (5) in Article 15 of the  Constitution  is  destructive  of
the basic structure of the Constitution.

12.    Mr.  Anil  B.  Divan,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for   the
petitioners in W.P.(C) No.60 of 2014 and W.P.(C) No.160  of  2014  submitted
that in the case of Edward A. Boyd and  George  H.  Boyd  v.  Unites  States
(1884) 116 U.S. 616 Bradley J., has observed that it will  be  the  duty  of
the courts to be watchful for the constitutional rights of the citizens  and
against any stealthy encroachments into these rights.  He submitted that  in
Dwarkadas Shrinivas v. The Sholapur Spining & Weaving Co.  Ltd.  and  Others
(AIR 1954 SC 119) Mahajan J., has held that in dealing  with  constitutional
matters it is always well to bear in mind these observations of  Bradley  J.
He submitted that while deciding on validity of clause (5) of Article 15  of
the Constitution, we should bear  in  mind  the  aforesaid  observations  of
Bradley J. He submitted that Chandrachud, CJ. in Minerva Mills Ltd.  &  Ors.
v. Union of India &  Ors.  (supra)  has  referred  to  the  observations  of
Brandies J. that the need to  protect  liberty  is  the  greatest  when  the
government purposes are beneficient particularly  when  political  pressures
exercised by numerically large  groups  can  tear  the  country  asunder  by
leaving it to  the  legislature  to  pick  and  choose  favoured  areas  and
favourite classes for preferential treatment.  He submitted that clause  (5)
of Article 15 of the Constitution is an  amendment  made  by  Parliament  to
appease socially and educationally backward  classes  of  citizens  and  the
Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes for political gains and it  is  for
the  Court  to  protect  the  fundamental  right  of   private   educational
institutions under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution  as  interpreted  by
this Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation.

13.   Mr. Divan next  submitted  that  clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
Constitution  as  its  very  language  indicates,  applies  to  non-minority
private educational institutions but does not apply to minority  educational
institutions referred to in clause (1) of Article 30  of  the  Constitution.
He argued that there is absolutely no rationale for exempting  the  minority
educational institutions from the purview of clause (5)  of  Article  15  of
the Constitution and clause (5) of Article 15  of  the  Constitution  really
gives a favourable treatment to the minority  educational  institutions  and
is violative of the equality clause in Article 14 of the  Constitution.   He
relied on the decision of this Court in The Ahmedabad St.  Xavier’s  College
Society and Another v. State of Gujarat and Another [(1974) 1  SCC  717]  to
submit that the whole object of conferring the right on the  minority  under
Article 30 of the Constitution is to ensure that there will be  an  equality
between the majority and the minority.  He submitted that H.R. Khanna J.  in
his judgment in the aforesaid case has clarified that  the  idea  of  giving
some special rights to the minorities is not to have a kind of a  privileged
or pampered section of the population but to give to the minorities a  sense
of security and a feeling of confidence.   He  submitted  that  Kirpal  C.J.
speaking for majority in T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra)  has  similarly  held
that the essence of Article 30(1) of the Constitution  is  to  ensure  equal
treatment between the majority and the minority institutions  that  laws  of
the land must apply equally to majority institutions as well as to  minority
institutions and minority institutions must be allowed to do what  the  non-
minority institutions are permitted to do. Mr. Divan submitted  that  clause
(5) of Article 15 of  the  Constitution  insofar  as  it  excludes  minority
institutions referred to in  Article  30(1)  of  the  Constitution  is  also
violative of secularism which is a basic feature of  the  Constitution.   He
referred to the judgment in Dr. M. Ismail Faruqui and  Others  v.  Union  of
India and Others [(1994) 6 SCC 360] in which this Court has  held  that  the
concept of secularism is one  facet  of  right  to  equality  woven  as  the
central golden thread in the fabric depicting the pattern of the  scheme  in
our Constitution.
Contentions of learned counsel for the Union of India:

  14. Mr. Mohan Parasaran, learned Solicitor General,  submitted  that  this
      Court has held in Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India  (supra)  that
      clause (5) of Article 15 of  the  Constitution  is  only  an  enabling
      provision empowering the State to make a special  provision,  by  law,
      for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes  of
      citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes  insofar
      as such special provisions relate to their  admission  to  educational
      institutions including private educational institutions.  He submitted
      that it will be clear from paragraphs 53 and 68 of the judgment of the
      eleven Judge Bench of this Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra) that
      reserving  a  small  percentage  of  seats  in   private   educational
      institutions, aided  or  unaided,  for  weaker,  poorer  and  backward
      sections of society did not in any way affect  the  right  of  private
      educational institutions under Article 19(1)(g) of  the  Constitution.
      He argued that  after  the  judgment  of  this  Court  in  T.M.A.  Pai
      Foundation (supra) a five-Judge Bench of this Court in Islamic Academy
      of Education & Anr. v. State of Karnataka & Ors. [(2003) 6 SCC 697 was
      of the view that as per the judgment in T.M.A. Pai Foundation  (supra)
      in case of non-minority professional colleges a  percentage  of  seats
      could be reserved by the Government for poorer and backward  sections.
      He submitted that this view taken by  the  five-Judge  Bench  of  this
      Court in Islamic Academy of Education & Anr. v. State of  Karnataka  &
      Ors. (supra), however, did not find favour with a seven-Judge Bench of
      this Court in P.A. Inamdar (supra) which held that there is nothing in
      the judgment of this Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation  (supra)  allowing
      the  State  to  regulate  or  control  admissions   in   the   unaided
      professional educational institutions so as to compel them to give  up
      a share of the available seats to the candidates chosen by  the  State
      or for enforcing the reservation policy of the  State.   He  submitted
      that, therefore, Parliament introduced clause (5) in Article 15 of the
      Constitution by the Constitution (Ninety-Third  Amendment)  Act,  2005
      providing that the State may make a special provision, by law, for the
      advancement of socially and educationally backward classes of citizens
      or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes insofar  as  such
      special  provisions  relate  to   their   admission   to   educational
      institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided
      or unaided by the State.  He vehemently  argued  that  clause  (5)  of
      Article 15 introduced by the constitutional  amendment  is  consistent
      with the right to establish and  administer  the  private  educational
      institutions under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution as interpreted
      by T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra) and, therefore, does not violate  the
      right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

  15. Mr. Parasaran next submitted that minority institutions referred to in
      Article 30 of the Constitution have been excluded from the purview  of
      clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution because the  Constitution
      has given a special status to  minority  institutions.   He  submitted
      that in the case of Ashoka Kumar Thakur v.  Union  of  India  (supra),
      this  Court  has  held  that   exclusion   of   minority   educational
      institutions from clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution is  not
      violative  of  Article  14  of  the  Constitution  as   the   minority
      educational institutions, by themselves,  are  a  separate  class  and
      their rights are protected by  other  constitutional  provisions.   He
      submitted that the argument that clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
      Constitution is violative of equality clause  in  Article  14  of  the
      Constitution is therefore misconceived.

Opinion of the Court on the validity of clause (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
Constitution:

16.    We have  considered  the  submissions  of  learned  counsel  for  the
parties and we find that the object of  clause  (5)  of  Article  15  is  to
enable the State to give equal opportunity  to  socially  and  educationally
backward classes of citizens or to the Scheduled Castes  and  the  Scheduled
Tribes  to  study  in  all  educational  institutions  other  than  minority
educational institutions referred  in  clause  (1)  of  Article  30  of  the
Constitution.  This will be clear from the Statement of Objects and  Reasons
of the Bill, which after enactment  became  the  Constitution  (Ninety-Third
Amendment) Act, 2005 extracted hereinbelow:




         “Greater  access  to  higher  education   including   professional
         education to a larger number of students belonging to the socially
         and  educationally  backward  classes  of  citizens  or  for   the
         Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has been a matter  of  major
         concern. At present, the number of seats  available  in  aided  or
         State  maintained  institutions,  particularly   in   respect   of
         professional education, is  limited  in  comparison  to  those  in
         private unaided institutions.


         2. It is laid down in article 46,  as  a  directive  principle  of
         State policy, that the State shall promote with special  care  the
         educational and economic interests of the weaker sections  of  the
         people and protect them from  social  injustice.  To  promote  the
         educational advancement of the socially and educationally backward
         classes of citizens or  of  the  Scheduled  Castes  and  Scheduled
         Tribes in matters of admission  of  students  belonging  to  these
         categories in unaided educational  institutions,  other  than  the
         minority educational institutions referred to  in  clause  (1)  of
         article 30 of the Constitution, it is proposed to amplify  article
         15.


         3. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects.”

Clause (1) of Article 15 of the Constitution provides that the  State  shall
not discriminate against any citizen on  grounds  only  of  religion,  race,
caste, sex, place of birth or any of them and clause (2) of  Article  15  of
the Constitution provides that no citizen shall,  on  grounds  of  religion,
race, caste, sex, place  of  birth  or  any  of  them,  be  subject  to  any
disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard  to  (a)  access
to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment;  or
(b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing  ghats,  roads  and  places  of  public
resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or  dedicated  to  the
use of general public.  These provisions were  made  to  ensure  that  every
citizen irrespective of his religion, race, caste, sex, place  of  birth  or
any of them, is given the equal treatment by the  State  and  he  has  equal
access to public places.  Despite these provisions  in  Article  15  of  the
Constitution as originally adopted,  some  classes  of  citizens,  Scheduled
Castes  and  Scheduled  Tribes  have  remained  socially  and  educationally
backward and have also not been able to access educational institutions  for
the purpose of advancement.  To amplify the provisions of Article 15 of  the
Constitution as originally adopted  and  to  provide  equal  opportunity  in
educational institutions, clause (5) has been inserted in Article 15 by  the
constitutional  amendment  made  by  the  Parliament  by  the   Ninety-Third
Amendment Act, 2005.  As the object of clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to a large number  of  students
belonging to the socially and educationally backward classes of citizens  or
for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes to  study  in  educational
institutions and equality of opportunity  is  also  the  object  of  clauses
(1)and (2) of Article 15 of the Constitution, we  cannot  hold  that  clause
(5) of Article  15  of  the  Constitution  is  an  exception  or  a  proviso
overriding Article 15 of the Constitution,  but  an  enabling  provision  to
make equality of opportunity promised in the Preamble in the Constitution  a
reality.

17.   For this view, we are supported  by  the  majority  judgment  of  this
Court in State of Kerala & Anr. v. N.M. Thomas & Ors. [(1976) 2 SCC 310]  in
which this Court has held that clause (4) of Article 16 of the  Constitution
which has opening words similar to  the  opening  words  in  clause  (5)  of
Article 15 is not an exception  or  a  proviso  to  Article  16,  but  is  a
provision intended to give equality of opportunity to  backward  classes  of
citizens in matters of public employment.  Similarly,  in  Indra  Sawhney  &
Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. [1992 Supp (3) SCC 217], this Court  following
the majority judgment in the case of State of Kerala & Anr. v.  N.M.  Thomas
& Ors. (supra) held that clause (4) of Article 16 was not  an  exception  to
clause (1) of Article 16, but is an enabling provision to give effect to  te
equality  of  opportunity  in  matters  of  public  employment.  These   two
authorities have also been cited by K.G. Balakrishnan, CJ., in his  judgment
in Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India (supra) to hold that clause (5)  of
Article 15 of the Constitution is not an exception to clause (1) of  Article
15,  but  may  be  taken  as  an  enabling  provision  to  carry   out   the
constitutional mandate of equality of opportunity.

18.   We  may  now  consider  whether  clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
Constitution  has  destroyed  the  right  under  Article  19(1)(g)  of   the
Constitution to establish and administer private  educational  institutions.
It is for the first time that this  Court  held  in  T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation
(supra) that the establishment and running  of  an  educational  institution
“is occupation” within the meaning of Article 19(1)(g) of the  Constitution.
  In paragraph 20 of the majority judgment,  while  dealing  with  the  four
components of the rights under Articles 19 and 26(a) of the Constitution  in
respect of private unaided non-minority  educational  institutions,  Kirpal,
CJ. has held that education is per  se  regarded  as  an  activity  that  is
charitable in nature.  Kirpal, CJ. has further held  in  paragraphs  53  and
68:


         “53. With regard to  the  core  components  of  the  rights  under
         Articles 19 and 26(a), it must be held that while  the  State  has
         the right to prescribe  qualifications  necessary  for  admission,
         private unaided colleges have the right to admit students of their
         choice,  subject  to  an  objective  and  rational  procedure   of
         selection and the compliance with conditions,  if  any,  requiring
         admission of a small percentage of students  belonging  to  weaker
         sections  of  the  society   by   granting   them   freeships   or
         scholarships, if not granted by the Government…………………..”


         “68. It would be unfair to apply the same  rules  and  regulations
         regulating  admission  to  both  aided  and  unaided  professional
         institutions. It must be borne in mind that  unaided  professional
         institutions are entitled  to  autonomy  in  their  administration
         while, at the same  time,  they  do  not  forego  or  discard  the
         principle of merit. It would, therefore, be  permissible  for  the
         university or the Government, at the time of granting recognition,
         to require a private unaided institution  to  provide  for  merit-
         based selection while, at the same  time,  giving  the  management
         sufficient discretion in admitting  students.  This  can  be  done
         through various methods. For instance, a certain percentage of the
         seats can be reserved for admission by the management out of those
         students who have passed the common entrance test held  by  itself
         or by  the  State/university  and  have  applied  to  the  college
         concerned for admission, while the rest of the seats may be filled
         up on the basis of counselling by  the  State  agency.  This  will
         incidentally take care of poorer  and  backward  sections  of  the
         society. The prescription of percentage for this purpose has to be
         done by the Government according to the local needs and  different
         percentages can be fixed for  minority  unaided  and  non-minority
         unaided and professional colleges.  The  same  principles  may  be
         applied  to  other  non-professional   but   unaided   educational
         institutions viz. graduation and  postgraduation  non-professional
         colleges or institutes.



19.   Thus,  the  content  of  the  right  under  Article  19(1)(g)  of  the
    Constitution   to   establish   and   administer   private   educational
    institutions, as per the judgment of this Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation
    (supra), includes the right  to  admit  students  of  their  choice  and
    autonomy of administration, but this Court has made it clear  in  T.M.A.
    Pai Foundation (supra) that this right and autonomy will not be affected
    if a small percentage of  students  belonging  to  weaker  and  backward
    sections of the society were granted freeships or scholarships,  if  not
    granted by the Government.  This was the charitable element of the right
    to establish  and  administer  private  educational  institutions  under
    Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.  Hence, the identity of the  right
    of private  educational  institutions  under  Article  19(1)(g)  of  the
    Constitution as interpreted by this Court, was not to  be  destroyed  by
    admissions from amongst educationally and socially backward  classes  of
    citizens as well as the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

20.  In P.A. Inamdar (supra), this Court speaking through Lahoti, CJ.,  was,
    however, of the view that the judgment in T.M.A. Pai Foundation  (supra)
    held that there was no power vested on the State  under  clause  (6)  of
    Article 19 to regulate or control admissions in the unaided  educational
    institutions so as to compel them to give up a share  of  the  available
    seats to the State or to enforce reservation  policy  of  the  State  on
    available seats in unaided  professional  institutions.   This  will  be
    clear from paragraph 125 of the judgment in P.A. Inamdar (supra),  which
    is extracted hereinbelow:

          “125. As per our understanding, neither in the  judgment  of  Pai
          Foundation nor in  the  Constitution  Bench  decision  in  Kerala
          Education Bill which was approved  by  Pai  Foundation  is  there
          anything which would allow  the  State  to  regulate  or  control
          admissions in the unaided professional  educational  institutions
          so as to compel them to give up a share of the available seats to
          the candidates chosen by the State, as  if  it  was  filling  the
          seats available to be filled up at its discretion in such private
          institutions. This would amount to nationalisation of seats which
          has  been  specifically  disapproved  in  Pai  Foundation.   Such
          imposition of quota  of  State  seats  or  enforcing  reservation
          policy of the State on available seats  in  unaided  professional
          institutions are acts constituting serious  encroachment  on  the
          right  and   autonomy   of   private   professional   educational
          institutions. Such appropriation of seats can also not be held to
          be a regulatory measure in the interest of  the  minority  within
          the meaning of Article 30(1) or a reasonable  restriction  within
          the meaning of Article 19(6) of the Constitution. Merely  because
          the resources of the State in  providing  professional  education
          are limited, private educational institutions,  which  intend  to
          provide better professional education, cannot be  forced  by  the
          State to make admissions available on the  basis  of  reservation
          policy to less meritorious candidates. Unaided  institutions,  as
          they are not deriving any aid from State funds,  can  have  their
          own admissions if fair, transparent, non-exploitative  and  based
          on merit.



21. The reasoning adopted by this Court in P.A. Inamdar (supra),  therefore,
    is that the  appropriation  of  seats  by  the  State  for  enforcing  a
    reservation policy was not  a  regulatory  measure  and  not  reasonable
    restriction within the meaning of  clause  (6)  of  Article  19  of  the
    Constitution.  As there was  no  provision  other  than  clause  (6)  of
    Article 19 of the Constitution under which the State could  in  any  way
    restrict  the  fundamental  right  under   Article   19(1)(g)   of   the
    Constitution, Parliament made the Constitution (Ninety-third  Amendment)
    Act, 2005 to insert clause (5) in Article  15  of  the  Constitution  to
    provide that nothing in  Article  19(1)(g)  of  the  Constitution  shall
    prevent the State from making any special provision,  by  law,  for  the
    advancement of  any  socially  and  educationally  backward  classes  of
    citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in  so  far
    as such special provisions relate  to  their  admission  to  educational
    institutions including private educational institutions,  whether  aided
    or unaided by the State.  Clause (5) in Article 15 of the  Constitution,
    thus, vests a power on the State, independent of and different from, the
    regulatory power under clause (6) of Article 19, and we have to  examine
    whether this new power vested in the State which enables  the  State  to
    force the  charitable  element  on  a  private  educational  institution
    destroys the right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

22.    According  to  Dr.  Dhavan,  the  right  of  a  private   educational
    institution under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution as laid  down  by
    this Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra) has a voluntary element.  In
    fact, this Court in P.A. Inamdar (supra) has held in  paragraph  126  at
    page 601 of the SCC  that  the  observations  in  paragraph  68  of  the
    judgment in T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra) merely permit unaided  private
    institutions  to  maintain  merit  as  the  criterion  of  admission  by
    voluntarily  agreeing  for  seat-sharing  with  the  State  or  adopting
    selection based on common entrance test of the State and that there  are
    also observations in T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra) to say that they  may
    frame their own policy to give freeships and scholarships to  the  needy
    and poor students or adopt a policy in line with the reservation  policy
    of the State to cater to the educational needs of the weaker and  poorer
    sections of the society.  In our view, all freedoms under which  Article
    19(1) of the Constitution, including the freedom under Article 19(1)(g),
    have a voluntary element but this voluntariness in all the  freedoms  in
    Article 19(1)  of  the  Constitution  can  be  subjected  to  reasonable
    restrictions imposed by the State by law under clauses  (2)  to  (6)  of
    Article 19 of the Constitution.  Hence,  the  voluntary  nature  of  the
    right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution  can  be  subjected  to
    reasonable restrictions imposed by the State by law under clause (6)  of
    Article 19 of the Constitution.  As this Court has held  in  T.M.A.  Pai
    Foundation (supra) and P.A. Inamdar (supra) the State can  under  clause
    (6) of Article 19 make regulatory provisions to ensure  the  maintenance
    of proper academic standards, atmosphere and  infrastructure  (including
    qualified staff) and the prevention of  maladministration  by  those  in
    charge of the management.  However, as this Court held in the  aforesaid
    two judgments that  nominating  students  for  admissions  would  be  an
    unacceptable  restriction  in  clause  (6)  of   Article   19   of   the
    Constitution, Parliament has stepped in and in exercise of its  amending
    power under Article 368 of  the  Constitution  inserted  clause  (5)  in
    Article 15 to enable the State to make a law making  special  provisions
    for admission of socially and educationally backward classes of citizens
    or for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for  their  advancement
    and to a very limited extent affected  the  voluntary  element  of  this
    right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constituion.  We, therefore, do  not
    find any merit in the submission of learned counsel for the  petitioners
    that  the  identity  of  the  right  of  unaided   private   educational
    institutions  under  Article  19(1)(g)  of  the  Constitution  has  been
    destroyed by clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution.

23. We may now examine whether  the  Ninety-Third  Amendment  satisfies  the
    width test.  A plain reading of clause (5) of Article 15 would show that
    the power of a State to make a law can only be  exercised  where  it  is
    necessary for advancement of socially and educationally backward classes
    of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and not for
    any other purpose.  Thus, if a law is made by the State only to  appease
    a class of citizen which is not socially or  educationally  backward  or
    which is not a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, such a  law  will  be
    beyond the powers of the State under clause (5) of  Article  15  of  the
    Constitution.  A plain reading of  clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
    Constitution will further show that such law has to be limited to making
    a  special  provision  relating  to  admission  to  private  educational
    institutions, whether aided or unaided, by the  State.   Hence,  if  the
    State makes a law which is  not  related  to  admission  in  educational
    institutions and relates to some other aspects  affecting  the  autonomy
    and rights of private educational institutions as defined by this  Court
    in T.M.A. Pai Foundation, such a law would not be within  the  power  of
    the State under clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution.  In  other
    words, power in clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution is a guided
    power to be exercised for the limited purposes stated in the clause  and
    as and when a law is made by the State  in  purported  exercise  of  the
    power under clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution, the Court will
    have to examine  and  find  out  whether  it  is  for  the  purposes  of
    advancement of  any  socially  and  educationally  backward  classes  of
    citizens or for the  Scheduled  Castes  and  the  Scheduled  Tribes  and
    whether  the  law  is  confined  to  admission  of  such  socially   and
    educationally backward classes of citizens or for the  Scheduled  Castes
    and the Scheduled Tribes to private  educational  institutions,  whether
    aided or unaided, and if the Court finds that the  power  has  not  been
    exercised for the purposes mentioned in clause (5) of Article 15 of  the
    Constitution, the Court will have to declare  the  law  as  ultra  vires
    Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.  In our  opinion,  therefore,  the
    width of the power vested on the State under clause (5) of Article 15 of
    the Constitution by the constitutional  amendment  is  not  such  as  to
    destroy the right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

24. We may now examine the contention of Mr.  Nariman  that  clause  (5)  of
    Article 15 of the Constitution fails to make a distinction between aided
    and unaided educational institutions and treats both aided  and  unaided
    alike in the matter  of  making  special  provisions  for  admission  of
    socially and educationally backward  classes  of  citizens  or  for  the
    Scheduled Castes  and  Scheduled  Tribes.   The  distinction  between  a
    private aided educational institution and a private unaided  educational
    institution is that private educational institutions  receive  aid  from
    the State, whereas  private  unaided  educational  institutions  do  not
    receive aid from the State.  As and when a law  is  made  by  the  State
    under clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution,  such  a  law  would
    have to be examined whether it has taken  into  account  the  fact  that
    private unaided educational institutions are not aided by the State  and
    has  made  provisions  in  the  law  to  ensure  that  private   unaided
    educational institutions are compensated for the admissions made in such
    private unaided  educational  institutions  from  amongst  socially  and
    educationally backward classes of citizens or the Scheduled  Castes  and
    the Scheduled Tribes.  In our view, therefore, a law made  under  clause
    (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution by the State on the ground that it
    treats  private  aided  educational  institutions  and  private  unaided
    educational institutions alike is not  immune  from  a  challenge  under
    Article 14 of the  Constitution.   Clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
    Constitution only states that nothing in Article 15 or Article  19(1)(g)
    will prevent the  State  to  make  a  special  provision,  by  law,  for
    admission of socially and educationally backward classes of citizens  or
    for the  Scheduled  Castes  and  the  Scheduled  Tribes  to  educational
    institutions including private educational institutions,  whether  aided
    or unaided by the State.  Clause (5) of Article 15 of  the  Constitution
    does not say that such a law will not comply with the other requirements
    of equality as provided in Article 14 of the Constitution.  Hence, we do
    not find any merit in the submission of the Mr. Nariman that clause  (5)
    of Article 15 of the Constitution that  insofar  as  it  treats  unaided
    private  educational  institutions   and   aided   private   educational
    institutions alike it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

25.   We may now deal with the contention of Mr. Divan that  clause  (5)  of
    Article 15 of the  Constitution  is  violative  of  Article  14  of  the
    Constitution as it excludes from its purview the  minority  institutions
    referred to in clause (1) of Article 30  of  the  Constitution  and  the
    contention of Mr. Nariman that clause (5) of Article  15  excludes  both
    unaided minority institutions and aided minority institutions alike  and
    is thus violative of Article 14 of  the  Constitution.   Articles  29(2)
    30(1) and 30(2) of the Constitution, which are  relevant,  for  deciding
    these contentions, are quoted hereinbelow:

           “29. Protection of interests of minorities-(1)………………………………….


           (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. Right of minorities to establish and administer  educational
           institutions-(1) All minorities, whether based  on  religion  or
           language, shall have  the  right  to  establish  and  administer
           educational institutions of their choice.


           (1A) ………………………………………………


           (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.”

On the question whether the right of  minority  institutions  under  Article
30(1) of the Constitution would be affected by admission of students who  do
not  belong  to  the  minority   community   which   has   established   the
institutions, Kirpal C.J.  writing  the  majority  judgment  in  T.M.A.  Pai
Foundation (supra) considered the previous judgments of this Court and  then
held in paragraph 149 at page 582 and 583 of the SCC:

           “149. Although the right to  administer  includes  within  it  a
           right to grant admission  to  students  of  their  choice  under
           Article 30(1), when such a minority institution is  granted  the
           facility of receiving grant-in-aid,  Article 29(2) would  apply,
           and necessarily, therefore, one of the right  of  administration
           of  the   minorities   would   be   eroded   to   some   extent.
           Article 30(2) is  an  injunction  against  the  state   not   to
           discriminate against the minority  educational  institution  and
           prevent it from receiving aid on the ground that the institution
           is under the management  of  a  minority.  While,  therefore,  a
           minority educational institution  receiving  grant-in-aid  would
           not be completely outside the discipline of Article 29(2) of the
           Constitution  by  no  stretch  of  imagination  can  the  rights
           guaranteed  under  Article 30(1) be  annihilated.  It  is   this
           context   that   some   interplay   between    Article 29(2) and
           Article 30(1) is  required.  As  observed  quite  aptly   in St.
           Stephen's case   "the   fact   that   Article 29(2) applies   to
           minorities as well as non-minorities does not mean that  it  was
           intended to nullify the special right guaranteed  to  minorities
           in Article 30(1)." The word "only" used in  Article 29(2) is  of
           considerable significance and has  been  used  for  some  avowed
           purpose. Denying admission to non-minorities for the purpose  of
           accommodating minority students to a reasonable extent will  not
           be only on grounds of religion etc., but is primarily  meant  to
           preserve the  minority  character  of  the  institution  and  to
           effectuate the guarantee under Article 30(1). The best  possible
           way is  to  hold  that  as  long  as  the  minority  educational
           institution permits admission of citizens belonging to the  non-
           minority class to a reasonable extent based upon merit, it  will
           not  be  an  infraction  of  Article 29(2),  even   though   the
           institution admits students of the minority  group  of  its  own
           choice for whom the institution  was  meant.  What  would  be  a
           reasonable extent would depend upon variable factors, and it may
           not be advisable to fix any specific percentage.  The  situation
           would vary according to the type of institution and  the  nature
           of education that is being imparted in the institution. Usually,
           at the school level, although it may be possible to fill up  all
           the seats with students of the minority  group,  at  the  higher
           level, either in colleges or in technical institutions,  it  may
           not be possible to fill up all the seats with  the  students  of
           the minority group. However, even if it is possible to  fill  up
           all the seats with students of the minority  group,  the  moment
           the institution is granted aid, the  institution  will  have  to
           admit students of the non-minority group to a reasonable extent,
           whereby the character of the institution is not annihilated, and
           at the same time, the rights  of  the  citizen  engrafted  under
           Article 29(2) are not subverted. It is for this  reason  that  a
           variable percentage of admission of minority students  depending
           on the type of  institution  and  education  is  desirable,  and
           indeed,  necessary,  to  promote  the  constitutional  guarantee
           enshrined in both Article 29(2) and Article 30.”

Thus, the law as laid down by this Court is that the minority  character  of
an aided or unaided minority institution cannot be annihilated by  admission
of students from communities other than the  minority  community  which  has
established the institution, and whether such admission  to  any  particular
percentage of seats will destroy the minority character of  the  institution
or not will depend on a large  number  of  factors  including  the  type  of
institution.

26. Clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution enables the State  to  make
    a special provision,  by  law,  for  the  advancement  of  socially  and
    educationally backward classes of citizens or for the  Scheduled  Castes
    and Scheduled Tribes.  Such admissions  of  socially  and  educationally
    backward classes of  citizens  or  for  the  Scheduled  Castes  and  the
    Scheduled Tribes who may belong to communities other than  the  minority
    community which has established the institution, may affect the right of
    the minority educational institutions  referred  to  in  clause  (1)  of
    Article 30 of the Constitution.  In other words, the minority  character
    of the minority educational institutions referred to in  clause  (1)  of
    Article 30 of the  Constitution,  whether  aided  or  unaided,   may  be
    affected by admissions of socially and educationally backward classes of
    citizens or the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and it is  for
    this reason that minority  institutions,  aided  or  unaided,  are  kept
    outside the enabling power of the State under clause (5) of  Article  15
    with a view to protect the minority institutions from a law made by  the
    majority.  As has been held by the Constitution Bench of this  Court  in
    Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India (supra), the minority  educational
    institutions, by themselves, are a separate class and their  rights  are
    protected under Article 30 of  the  Constitution,  and,  therefore,  the
    exclusion of minority educational institutions from Article 15(5) is not
    violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

27.   We may now consider the contention of Mr. Divan  that  clause  (5)  of
    Article 15 of the Constitution is violative of secularism insofar as  it
    excludes religious minority institutions referred to in Article 30(1) of
    the Constitution from the purview of clause (5) of  Article  15  of  the
    Constitution.  In Dr. M. Ismail Faruqui and Others v. Union of India and
    Others  (supra),  this  Court  has  held  that  the  Preamble   of   the
    Constitution read in particular with Articles 15  to  28  emphasis  this
    aspect and indicates that the concept  of  secularism  embodied  in  the
    constitutional scheme is a creed adopted by the Indian  people.   Hence,
    secularism is no doubt a basic feature of the Constitution, but we  fail
    to appreciate how clause (5) of Article 15  of  the  Constitution  which
    excludes religious minority institutions in clause (1) of Article 30  of
    the Constitution is in any way violative of the concept  of  secularism.
    On the other hand, this Court has held in T.M.A. Pai Foundation  (supra)
    that  the  essence  of  secularism  in  India  is  the  recognition  and
    preservation of the different types of people,  with  diverse  languages
    and different beliefs and Articles 29  and  30  seek  to  preserve  such
    differences and at the same time unite the people of India to  form  one
    strong nation. (see paragraph 161 of the majority  judgment  of  Kirpal,
    C.J., in T.M.A. Pai  Foundation  at  page  587  of  the  SCC).   In  our
    considered opinion, therefore, by excluding  the  minority  institutions
    referred to in clause (1) of Article 30 of the Constitution, the secular
    character of India is maintained and not destroyed.

28.  We may now come to the submission of Mr. Nariman that  the  fundamental
    right under Article 21 read with Article 51A(j) of the  Constitution  is
    violated by clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution.  According  to
    Mr. Nariman, every person has a right under Article 21 and a duty  under
    Article 51A(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual
    and collective activity, but  this  will  not  be  possible  if  private
    educational institutions in which a person studies for  the  purpose  of
    achieving excellence are made to admit students  from  amongst  backward
    classes of citizens and from the  Scheduled  Castes  and  the  Scheduled
    Tribes.  This contention, in our considered opinion, is not  founded  on
    the  experience  of  educational  institutions  in  India.   Educational
    institutions in India such as Kendriya Vidyalayas, Indian  Institute  of
    Technology, All India  Institute  of  Medical  Sciences  and  Government
    Medical Colleges admit students in seats reserved for  backward  classes
    of citizens and for the Scheduled Castes and the  Scheduled  Tribes  and
    yet these Government institutions have produced excellent  students  who
    have grown up  to  be  good  administrators,  academicians,  scientists,
    engineers,  doctors  and  the  like.   Moreover,  the  contention   that
    excellence will be compromised by admission from  amongst  the  backward
    classes of citizens and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in
    private educational institutions is contrary  to  the  Preamble  of  the
    Constitution which  promises  to  secure  to  all  citizens  “fraternity
    assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity  and  integrity  of
    the nation”.  The goals of fraternity, unity and integrity of the nation
    cannot be achieved unless the  backward  classes  of  citizens  and  the
    Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, who for  historical  factors,
    have not advanced are integrated into the main  stream  of  the  nation.
    We, therefore, find no merit in  the  submission  of  Mr.  Nariman  that
    clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution violates  the  right  under
    Article 21 of the Constitution.

29. We accordingly hold that none of the rights under Articles 14,  19(1)(g)
    and 21 of the Constitution have been abrogated by clause (5) of  Article
    15 of the Constitution and the view taken  by  Bhandari,  J.  in  Ashoka
    Kumar  Thakur  v.  Union  of  India  (supra)  that  the  imposition   of
    reservation on unaided institutions by the  Ninety-third  Amendment  has
    abrogated Article 19(1)(g), a basic feature of the Constitution  is  not
    correct.  Instead, we hold that the (Ninety-third Amendment)  Act,  2005
    of  the  Constitution  inserting  clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of   the
    Constitution is valid.

Validity of Article 21A of the Constitution
Contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners:

30. The second substantial question of law  which  we  are  called  upon  to
    decide is whether by inserting Article 21A by the Constitution  (Eighty-
    Sixth Amendment)  Act,  2002,  the  Parliament  has  altered  the  basic
    structure or framework of the Constitution.   Before  we  refer  to  the
    contentions  of  the  learned  counsel  for  the  petitioners,  we  must
    reiterate some facts.  Article 21A is titled ‘Right to Education’ and it
    provides that the State shall provide free and compulsory  education  to
    all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner  as  the
    State may, by law, determine.  Accordingly, the 2009 Act was enacted  by
    Parliament to provide free and compulsory education to all  children  of
    the age of six to fourteen years.  The validity  of  the  2009  Act  was
    challenged and considered in Society  for  Unaided  Private  Schools  of
    Rajasthan v. Union of India & Anr. (supra) by  a  three-Judge  Bench  of
    this Court.  Two learned Judges S.H. Kapadia C.J. and Swatanter Kumar J.
    held that the 2009 Act is constitutionally valid and shall apply to  the
    following:
           (i) a school established, owned or controlled by the appropriate
           Government or a local authority;


           (ii)  an  aided  school  including  aided   minority   school(s)
           receiving aid or grants to meet whole or part  of  its  expenses
           from the appropriate Government or the local authority;


           (iii) a school belonging to specified category; and


           (iv) an unaided non-minority school not receiving  any  kind  of
           aid  or  grants  to  meet  its  expenses  from  the  appropriate
           Government or the local authority.



The two learned Judges, however, held  that  the  2009  Act,  in  particular
Sections  12(1)(c)  and  Section  18(3),  infringe  the  fundamental  rights
guaranteed  to  unaided  minority  schools  under  Article  30(1)   of   the
Constitution and therefore the 2009 Act shall  not  apply  to  such  unaided
minority schools.  Differing from the majority opinion expressed by the  two
learned Judges, Radhakrishnan J. held that Article 21A casts  an  obligation
on the State and not on unaided non-minority and  unaided  minority  schools
to provide free and compulsory education to children of the age  of  six  to
fourteen years.  After the aforesaid judgment of this Court in  Society  for
Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India & Anr.  (supra),  the
2009 Act was amended by  the  Right  of  Children  to  Free  And  Compulsory
Education Act, 2009 (Amendment Act, 2012)  and  by  the  amendment,  it  was
provided in sub-section (4) of Section 1 of the 2009  Act  that  subject  to
the provisions of Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution, the provisions  of
the 2009 Act shall apply to conferment of rights on  children  to  free  and
compulsory education.

31. Mr.  Rohatgi,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the  petitioners  in  Writ
    Petition  (C)  No.416  of  2012,  submitted  that  Article  21A  of  the
    Constitution  creates  obligation  only   upon   the   State   and   its
    instrumentalities as defined in Article 12 of the Constitution and  does
    not cast any obligation on a private  unaided  educational  institution.
    He submitted that the minority opinion of Radhakrishnan  J.  in  Society
    for Unaided Private Schools of  Rajasthan  v.  Union  of  India  &  Anr.
    (supra) is, therefore, a correct  interpretation  of  Article  21A.   He
    submitted that if Article 21A is  interpreted  to  include  the  private
    unaided educational institutions within its sweep then it would abrogate
    the right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution  to  establish  and
    administer private educational institutions which is a basic feature  of
    the Constitution.

32. Mr.  Nariman,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the  petitioners  in  Writ
    Petition (C) No.128 of 2014, submitted that word “State” used in Article
    21A of the Constitution would mean the State as defined in Article 12 of
    the  Constitution  and  therefore  would  include  the  Government   and
    Parliament of India and the Government and the Legislature  of  each  of
    the States and all local or other authorities within  the  territory  of
    India or under the control of the Government  of  India.   He  submitted
    that this Court has held in P.D. Shamdasani v. The Central Bank of India
    Ltd. (AIR 1952 SC 1952) that the language and structure  of  Article  19
    and its setting in Part III of the Constitution clearly  show  that  the
    Article was intended to protect those freedoms against State action only
    and hence violation of rights of property by individuals is  not  within
    the purview of Article 19 of the Constitution.  He submitted  that  this
    Court has also held in Smt. Vidya Verma v. Dr. Shiv  Narain  Verma  (AIR
    1956 SC 108) that  the  fundamental  right  of  personal  liberty  under
    Article 21 of the Constitution is available against only the  State  and
    not against private individuals.  He submitted that, therefore, the word
    “State” in Article 21A of the Constitution  would  not  include  private
    unaided educational institutions or private individuals.

33.  Mr.  Nariman  submitted  that  before  the  Constitution  (Eighty-Sixth
    Amendment) Act, 2002, Article 45 provided that the State shall endeavour
    to provide, within a period of ten years from the  commencement  of  the
    Constitution, “for” free and compulsory education for all children until
    they complete the age of fourteen years.  He submitted that what Article
    45 therefore meant was that the State alone shall endeavour  to  provide
    “for” free and compulsory education to all  children  upto  the  age  of
    fourteen years.  He submitted that  by  the  Constitution  (Eighty-Sixth
    Amendment) Act, 2002, Article 45 was deleted and in  its  place  Article
    21A was inserted in the Constitution.  He submitted that in Article  21A
    of the Constitution, the word “for” is missing but this  does  not  mean
    that the obligation of the State to fund free and  compulsory  education
    to all children upto the age of 14 years could be passed on by the State
    to private unaided educational institutions.  He submitted that  Article
    21A, if construed to mean that the  State  could  by  law  pass  on  its
    obligation under Article 21A to provide free and compulsory education to
    all children upto the age of fourteen years to private unaided  schools,
    Article 21A of the Constitution would  abrogate  the  right  of  private
    educational schools  under  Article  19(1)(g)  of  the  Constitution  as
    interpreted by this Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra).

34. Mr. Nariman submitted that the Objects and Reasons  of  the  Bill  which
    became the 2009 Act explicitly stated that the 2009 Act is  pursuant  to
    Article 21A of the Constitution but did not make any reference to clause
    (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution.  He submitted that  the  validity
    of the provisions of the 2009 Act will, therefore,  have  to  be  tested
    only by reference  to  Article  21A  of  the  Constitution  and  not  by
    reference to clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution.  According to
    both Mr. Rohatgi and Mr.  Nariman,  Section  12(1(c)  of  the  2009  Act
    insofar as it provides that a private  unaided  school  shall  admit  in
    Class I to the extent of at least 25%  of  the  total  strength  of  the
    class, children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged group  in
    the neighborhood and provide free  and  compulsory  education  till  its
    completion is violative of the right of private  unaided  schools  under
    Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution as interpreted  by  this  Court  in
    T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra) and P.A. Inamdar (supra).  They  submitted
    that the majority opinion  of  the  three-Judge  Bench  in  Society  for
    Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India  &  Anr.  (supra)
    is, therefore, not correct.

35.  Mr. Ajmal Khan, learned senior counsel appearing  for  the  petitioners
    in Writ Petition (C) No.1081 of 2013 (Muslim Minority Schools  Managers’
    Association) and Mr. T.R. Andhyarujina, learned senior counsel appearing
    for intervener in  Writ  Petition  (C)  No.60  of  2014  (La  Martineire
    Schools) that under Article 30(1) of the  Constitution  all  minorities,
    whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish
    and administer educational institutions of their choice.  They submitted
    that the State while making the  law  to  provide  free  and  compulsory
    education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years cannot  be
    allowed to encroach on this right of  the  minority  institutions  under
    Article 30(1) of the Constitution.  They referred to  the  decisions  of
    this Court right from the Kerala Educational Bill case to the T.M.A. Pai
    case (supra) to argue that admitting children other than  those  of  the
    minority community which establish the school cannot be forced upon  the
    minority institutions, whether aided or unaided.   They  submitted  that
    2009 Act, if made applicable to minority schools, aided or unaided, will
    be ultra vires Article 30(1) of the Constitution.  They  submitted  that
    the majority judgment of this  Court  in  Society  for  Unaided  Private
    Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India & Anr. (supra), has taken a  view
    that the 2009 Act will not apply to unaided minority  schools  but  will
    apply to aided minority schools.   They submitted that accordingly  sub-
    section (4) of Section 1 of the 2009 Act provides that  subject  to  the
    provisions of articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution, the provisions  of
    the Act shall apply to conferment of rights  on  children  to  free  and
    compulsory education.  They  submitted  that  this  sub-section  (4)  of
    Section 1 of the 2009 Act should be  declared  as  ultra  vires  Article
    30(1) of the Constitution.

Submissions of learned counsel for the Union of India:

36. In reply, Mr. K.V. Vishwanathan, learned Additional  Solicitor  General,
    submitted that the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the  Bill,  which
    was enacted as the  Constitution  (Eighty-Sixth  Amendment)  Act,  2002,
    stated that the goal set out  in  Article  45  of  the  Constitution  of
    providing free and compulsory education for children upto the age of  14
    years could not be achieved even after  50  years  of  adoption  of  the
    provision and in order to fulfill this goal, it  was  felt  that  a  new
    provision  in  the  Constitution  should  be  inserted  as  Article  21A
    providing that the State shall provide free and compulsory education  to
    all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner  as  the
    State may, by law, determine.  He  submitted  that  in  accordance  with
    Article 21A of the Constitution, the 2009 Act  has  been  enacted  which
    provides the manner in which such  free  and  compulsory  education  for
    children upto the age of 14 years shall be provided by the State and  it
    provides in Section 12(1)(c) that private unaided schools shall admit in
    Class I from amongst weaker sections of society and  from  disadvantaged
    groups at least twenty-five per cent of the strength of  the  class  and
    provide free and compulsory education.

37.   Mr.  Vishwanathan  submitted  that  private  educational  institutions
    cannot have any grievance in this regard because they are  performing  a
    function akin to the function of the State.  He submitted that  applying
    the functional test private  educational  institutions  are  also  State
    within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution and, therefore, the
    argument of Mr. Nariman  that  the  obligation  of  providing  free  and
    compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years
    cannot be passed on by the State to private educational institutions has
    no substance.  Mr. Vishwanathan submitted that in paragraph  53  of  the
    judgment in T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra) this Court has held that while
    private  unaided  educational  institutions  have  the  right  to  admit
    students of their choice, admission of a small  percentage  of  students
    belonging to weaker sections of the society by granting  them  freeships
    or scholarships, if not granted by the Government should also  be  done.
    He submitted that in paragraph 68 of T.M.A. Pai Foundation (supra), this
    Court has also held that a small percentage of seats may also be  filled
    up to take care of poorer and backward  sections  of  the  society.   He
    submitted that the 2009 Act, therefore, has provided in Section 12(1)(c)
    that an unaided private school shall admit in Class I, to the extent  of
    at least twenty-five per cent of the strength of  that  class,  children
    belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood
    and provide free and compulsory elementary education till its completion
    and this provision of the  2009  Act,  therefore,  is  not  ultra  vires
    Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

38. Regarding minority institutions, Mr. Vishwanathan submitted  that  under
    Article 3)(1) of the Constitution they have equal status and accordingly
    this Court has held in Society for Unaided Private Schools of  Rajasthan
    v. Union of India & Anr. (supra) the 2009 Act will not apply to  unaided
    minority schools but will apply to aided minority schools.  He submitted
    that accordingly the 2009 Act was amended by the Right  of  Children  to
    Free And Compulsory Education (Amendment) Act, 2012, so as to provide in
    sub-section (4) of Section 1  of  the  2009  Act  that  subject  to  the
    provisions of Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution, the provisions  of
    the 2009 Act shall apply to conferment of rights on children to free and
    compulsory education.

Opinion of the Court on Article 21A of the Constitution and on the  validity
of 2009 Act:


39.   We have considered the submissions of learned counsel for the  parties
and we find that this is what it is stated in the Statement of  Objects  and
Reasons of the  Constitution  (Eighty-Third  Amendment)  Bill,  1997,  which
ultimately was enacted as the  Constitution  (Eighty-Sixth  Amendment)  Act,
2002:

           “The Constitution of India in a Directive Principle contained in
           article 45, has  'made  a  provision  for  free  and  compulsory
           education for all children up  to  the  age  of  fourteen  years
           within ten years of promulgation of the Constitution.  We  could
           not achieve this goal even after 50 years of  adoption  of  this
           provision. The task of providing education to  all  children  in
           this age group gained momentum  after  the  National  Policy  of
           Education (NPE) was announced in 1986. The Government of  India,
           in partnership with the State Governments,  has  made  strenuous
           efforts  to  fulfil  this  mandate   and,   though   significant
           improvements were seen in various  educational  indicators,  the
           ultimate goal of providing universal and quality education still
           remains unfulfilled. In order to fulfil this goal,  it  is  felt
           that an explicit provision should be made in the  Part  relating
           to Fundamental Rights of the Constitution.        
           
           2. With a view to making right to free and compulsory  education
           a fundamental right, the Constitution  (Eighty-third  Amendment)
           Bill, 1997 was introduced in Parliament to insert a new article,
           namely, article 21 A conferring on all children in the age group
           of 6 to 14 years the right to free and compulsory education. The
           said  Bill  was  scrutinised  by  the   Parliamentary   Standing
           Committee on Human Resource Development and the subject was also
           dealt with in its 165th Report by the Law Commission of India.
           
           3. After  taking  into  consideration  the  report  of  the  Law
           Commission of India and  the  recommendations  of  the  Standing
           Committee of Parliament, the proposed amendments  in  Part  III,
           Part IV and Part IVA of the Constitution are  being  made  which
           are as follows:-
           
           (a) to provide for free and compulsory education to children  in
           the age group  of  6  to  14  years  and  for  this  purpose,  a
           legislation  would  be  introduced  in  Parliament   after   the
           Constitution (Ninety-third Amendment) Bill, 200l is enacted;
           
           (b) to provide in article 45 of the Constitution that the  State
           shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education to
           children below the age of six years; and      
           
              (c) to amend article 5lA of the Constitution with  a  view  to
           providing that  it shall be the obligation  of  the  parents  to
           provide opportunities for education to their children.
                                                       
           4. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects.
           
                                                                           
                               MURLI MANOHAR JOSHI.
           NEW DELHI;
           The 16th November, 2001.”


It will, thus, be clear from the Statement of Objects and Reasons  extracted
above that although the Directive Principle in Article 45 contemplated  that
the State will provide free and compulsory education for all children up  to
the  age  of  fourteen  years  within  ten  years  of  promulgation  of  the
Constitution, this goal could not be  achieved  even  after  50  years  and,
therefore, a constitutional amendment was proposed to insert Article 21A  in
Part  III  of  the  Constitution.   Bearing  in  mind  this  object  of  the
Constitution (Eight-Sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserting Article 21A of  the
Constitution, we may now proceed to  consider  the  submissions  of  learned
counsel for the parties.

40.   Article 21A of the Constitution, as we have noticed, states  that  the
State shall provide free and compulsory education to  all  children  of  the
age of six to fourteen years in such  manner  as  the  State  may,  by  law,
determine.  The word ‘State’ in Article 21A can only mean the ‘State’  which
can make the law.  Hence, Mr. Rohatgi and Mr. Nariman  are  right  in  their
submission that the constitutional  obligation  under  Article  21A  of  the
Constitution is on the State to provide free  and  compulsory  education  to
all children of the age of  6  to  14  years  and  not  on  private  unaided
educational institutions.  Article  21A,  however,  states  that  the  State
shall by  law  determine  the  “manner”  in  which  it  will  discharge  its
constitutional obligation under Article 21A.  Thus, a new power  was  vested
in  the  State  to  enable  the  State  to  discharge  this   constitutional
obligation by making a law.  However, Article 21A  has  to  be  harmoniously
construed with Article 19(1)(g) and Article 30(1) of  the  Constitution.  As
has been held by this Court in Venkataramana Devaru v. State of Mysore  (AIR
1958 SC 255):

           “The rule of construction is well settled that when there are in
           an enactment two provisions which cannot be reconciled with each
           other, they should be so interpreted that, if  possible,  effect
           could be given to both.  This is what is known as  the  rule  of
           harmonious construction.”




We do not find anything in Article  21A  which  conflicts  with  either  the
right of private unaided schools under Article  19(1)(g)  or  the  right  of
minority schools under Article 30(1) of the Constitution, but the  law  made
under Article 21A may  affect  these  rights  under  Articles  19(1)(g)  and
30(1).  The law made by the State to provide free and  compulsory  education
to the children of the age of 6 to 14 years should not, therefore,  be  such
as to abrogate the  right  of  unaided  private  educational  schools  under
Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution or the right of the  minority  schools,
aided or unaided, under Article 30(1) of the Constitution.


41.    While discussing the validity of clause (5)  of  Article  15  of  the
Constitution, we have already noticed that in paragraphs 53 and  68  of  the
judgment in  T.M.A.  Pai  Foundation  (supra),  this  Court  has  held  that
admission of a small percentage of students belonging to weaker sections  of
the society by granting them freeships or scholarships, if  not  granted  by
the Government and the admission to some  of  the  seats  to  take  care  of
poorer and backward sections of the society may  be  permissible  and  would
not  be  inconsistent  with  the  rights  under  Articles  19(1)(g)  of  the
Constitution.  In P.A. Inamdar (supra), however,  this Court explained  that
there was nothing in this Court’s judgment in T.M.A. Pai Foundation  (supra)
to say that such admission of students from  amongst  weaker,  backward  and
poorer sections of the society in private unaided institutions can  be  done
by the State because the power vested on the State in clause (6) of  Article
19 of the Constitution is to make only regulatory provisions and this  power
could not be used by the State to  force  admissions  from  amongst  weaker,
backward and poorer sections of the society on private  unaided  educational
institutions.  While discussing the validity of clause (5)  of  Article  15,
we have also held that there is an  element  of  voluntariness  of  all  the
freedoms under Article 19(1) of the Constitution, but the  voluntariness  in
these freedoms can be subjected to law made under the  powers  available  to
the State under clause (2) to (6) of Article 19 of the Constitution.

42.   In our considered opinion, therefore,  by  the  Constitution  (Eighty-
Sixth Amendment) Act, a new power was made  available  to  the  State  under
Article 21A of the Constitution to make a  law  determining  the  manner  in
which it will provide free and compulsory education to the children  of  the
age of six to fourteen years as this  goal  contemplated  in  the  Directive
Principles in Article 45 before this constitutional amendment could  not  be
achieved for fifty years.  This additional power vested by the  Constitution
(Eighty-Sixth  Amendment)  Act,  2002  in  the  State  is  independent   and
different from the power of the State under clause (6) of Article 19 of  the
Constitution and has affected the voluntariness of the right  under  Article
19(1)(g) of the Constitution.  By  exercising  this  additional  power,  the
State can by law impose admissions on private unaided schools  and  so  long
as the law made by the State in exercise of this power under Article 21A  of
the Constitution is  for  the  purpose  of  providing  free  and  compulsory
education to the children of the age of 6 to 14 years and so  long  as  such
law forces admission of children of poorer, weaker and backward sections  of
the society to a small  percentage  of  the  seats  in  private  educational
institutions to achieve the constitutional goals of equality of  opportunity
and social justice set out in the Preamble of the Constitution, such  a  law
would not be destructive of the right of  the  private  unaided  educational
institutions under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

43.   To give an idea  of  the  goals  Parliament  intended  to  achieve  by
enacting the 2009 Act, we extract paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of the Statement  of
Objects and  Reasons  of  the  Bill  which  was  enacted  as  the  2009  Act
hereinbelow:


           “4. The proposed legislation is anchored in the belief that  the
           values  of  equality,  social  justice  and  democracy  and  the
           creation of a just and  humane  society  can  be  achieved  only
           through provision of  inclusive  elementary  education  to  all.
           Provision of  free  and  compulsory  education  of  satisfactory
           quality to children from disadvantaged and weaker  sections  is,
           therefore, not merely  the  responsibility  of  schools  run  or
           supported by the appropriate Governments, but  also  of  schools
           which are not dependent on Government funds.


           5. It is, therefore, expedient and necessary to enact a suitable
           legislation as envisaged in Article 21A of the Constitution.


           6. The Bill seeks to achieve this objective.”

It will be clear from the aforesaid extract that the 2009  Act  intended  to
achieve  the  constitutional  goal  of  equality  of   opportunity   through
inclusive elementary  education  to  all  and  also  intended  that  private
schools  which  did  not  receive  government  aid  should  also  take   the
responsibility of providing free and compulsory  education  of  satisfactory
quality to children from disadvantaged and weaker sections.

44.   When we examine the 2009 Act, we  find  that  under  Section  12(1)(c)
read with Section 2(n)(iv) of the Act, an unaided school not  receiving  any
kind of aid or grants to meet its expenses from the  appropriate  Government
or the local authority is required to admit in class I, to the extent of  at
least  twenty-five  per  cent  of  the  strength  of  that  class,  children
belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged  group  in  the  neighbourhood
and provide free and compulsory elementary education  till  its  completion.
We further find that under Section 12(2) of  the  2009  Act  such  a  school
shall be reimbursed expenditure so incurred by it  to  the  extent  of  per-
child-expenditure incurred by the State, or the actual amount  charged  from
the child, whichever is less, in such manner as may  be  prescribed.   Thus,
ultimately it is the State  which  is  funding  the  expenses  of  free  and
compulsory education of  the  children  belonging  to  weaker  sections  and
several groups in  the  neighbourhood,  which  are  admitted  to  a  private
unaided school.  These provisions of the 2009 Act, in our view, are for  the
purpose of providing free and compulsory education to children  between  the
age group of 6 to 14 years and are consistent with the right  under  Article
19(1)(g) of the Constitution, as interpreted by this  Court  in  T.M.A.  Pai
Foundation (supra) and are meant to  achieve  the  constitutional  goals  of
equality of opportunity  in  elementary  education  to  children  of  weaker
sections and disadvantaged groups in our society.   We,  therefore,  do  not
find any merit in  the  submissions  made  on  behalf  of  the  non-minority
private schools that Article 21A  of  the  Constitution  and  the  2009  Act
violate their right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

45.   Under Article 30(1)  of  the  Constitution,  all  minorities,  whether
based on religion or  language,  shall  have  the  right  to  establish  and
administer  educational  institutions  of  their  choice.    Religious   and
linguistic minorities, therefore, have a  special  constitutional  right  to
establish and administer educational schools of their choice and this  Court
has repeatedly held that the State  has  no  power  to  interfere  with  the
administration  of  minority  institutions  and  can  make  only  regulatory
measures and has no power to force admission of students from  amongst  non-
minority communities, particularly in minority schools, so as to affect  the
minority character of the institutions.  Moreover,  in  Kesavananda  Bharati
Sripadagalvaru v. State of Kerala & Anr. (supra) Sikri, CJ., has  even  gone
to the extent of saying that Parliament cannot in exercise of  its  amending
power abrogate the rights of  minorities.   To  quote  the  observations  of
Sikri, CJ. in Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru v. State of Kerala  &  Anr.
(supra):

         “178. The  above  brief  summary  of  the  work  of  the  Advisory
         Committee and the Minorities Sub-committee shows that no one  ever
         contemplated  that  fundamental   rights   appertaining   to   the
         minorities would be liable to be abrogated by an amendment of  the
         Constitution. The same  is  true  about  the  proceedings  in  the
         Constituent Assembly. There is no hint anywhere that abrogation of
         minorities’ rights was ever in the contemplation of the  important
         members of the Constituent Assembly. It seems to me  that  in  the
         context of the British plan, the setting  up  of  Minorities  Sub-
         committee, the Advisory Committee and  the  proceedings  of  these
         Committees, as well as the proceedings in the Constituent Assembly
         mentioned  above,  it  is  impossible  to  read   the   expression
         “Amendment  of  the  Constitution”  as  empowering  Parliament  to
         abrogate the rights of minorities.”

Thus, the power under Article 21A of the Constitution vesting in  the  State
cannot extend to making any  law  which  will  abrogate  the  right  of  the
minorities to establish and administer schools of their choice.

46.   When we look at the 2009 Act, we find that Section 12(1)(b) read  with
Section 2(n) (iii) provides that an aided school receiving aid  and  grants,
whole or part, of its expenses from the appropriate Government or the  local
authority has to provide free and compulsory education  to  such  proportion
of children admitted therein as  its  annual  recurring  aid  or  grants  so
received bears to its annual recurring expenses, subject  to  a  minimum  of
twenty-five per cent.  Thus, a minority aided school is put  under  a  legal
obligation to provide free and compulsory elementary education  to  children
who need not be children of members of  the  minority  community  which  has
established the school.  We also find  that  under  Section  12(1)(c)   read
with Section 2(n)(iv), an unaided school has to admit into  twenty-five  per
cent of the strength of class I children belonging to  weaker  sections  and
disadvantaged groups in the neighbourhood.  Hence, unaided minority  schools
will have a legal obligation to admit children belonging to weaker  sections
and disadvantaged groups in the neighbourhood who need not  be  children  of
the members of the minority community  which  has  established  the  school.
While  discussing  the  validity  of  clause  (5)  of  Article  15  of   the
Constitution, we have held  that  members  of  communities  other  than  the
minority community which has established the school cannot be forced upon  a
minority institution because that may destroy the minority character of  the
school. In our view,  if  the  2009  Act  is  made  applicable  to  minority
schools, aided or unaided, the right of the minorities under  Article  30(1)
of the Constitution will be abrogated. Therefore, the 2009  Act  insofar  it
is made applicable to minority schools referred in clause (1) of Article  30
of the Constitution is ultra vires the Constitution.  We  are  thus  of  the
view that the majority  judgment  of  this  Court  in  Society  for  Unaided
Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India & Anr. (supra) insofar as  it
holds that the 2009 Act is applicable  to  aided  minority  schools  is  not
correct.

47.   In the result, we hold that the Constitution (Ninety-third  Amendment)
Act, 2005 inserting clause (5) of Article 15 of  the  Constitution  and  the
Constitution (Eighty-Sixth Amendment) Act, 2002  inserting  Article  21A  of
the Constitution do not alter  the  basic  structure  or  framework  of  the
Constitution and are constitutionally valid.  We also  hold  that  the  2009
Act is not ultra vires Article 19(1)(g) of the  Constitution.  We,  however,
hold that the 2009 Act insofar as it applies to minority schools,  aided  or
unaided, covered under clause (1) of  Article  30  of  the  Constitution  is
ultra vires the Constitution.  Accordingly, Writ  Petition  (C)  No.1081  of
2013 filed on behalf of Muslim Minority  Schools  Managers’  Association  is
allowed and Writ Petition (C) Nos.416 of 2012, 152 of 2013, 60 of  2014,  95
of 2014, 106 of 2014, 128 of 2014, 144 of 2014, 145 of  2014,  160  of  2014
and 136 of 2014 filed on behalf of non-minority private unaided  educational
institutions are dismissed.  All I.As.  stand  disposed  of.   The  parties,
however, shall bear their own costs.
                                      .....……………..……………………CJI.
                                    (R.M. Lodha)


                                          .....……………..……………………….J.
                                    (A. K. Patnaik)




                                          .....……………..……………………….J.
                                    (Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya)




                                          .....……………..……………………….J.
                                    (Dipak Misra)


                                              …....…………..………………………..J.
                                 (Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla)
New Delhi,
May 06, 2014.

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