Supreme Court Stays Allahabad HC Decision on UP Madarsa Education Act

SC halts Allahabad HC's decision on UP Madarsa Education Act, citing violations of secular principles. Pending final hearings, the Act remains suspended, ensuring continuity in education for affected students.

The Supreme Court of India has intervened to stay a verdict by the Allahabad High Court, which declared the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004, as "unconstitutional." The High Court's decision was based on grounds that the Act violated the principle of secularism and fundamental rights enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, admitted appeals challenging the High Court's ruling, scheduling them for a final hearing in the second week of July. The bench emphasized that until the petitions are heard and disposed of, the High Court's judgment stands suspended.

The bench, comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, scrutinized the Act's provisions and asserted that the statutory board established under the Act primarily serves a regulatory purpose. It disagreed with the High Court's conclusion that the establishment of the board breached secular principles, suggesting a misinterpretation of the Act's provisions.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court noted that the Act does not inherently mandate religious instruction in educational institutions funded by the state. It referenced Article 28(1) of the Constitution, which prohibits religious instruction in state-funded educational institutions, and emphasized the need to provide secular education in core subjects to students in madrassas.

The Court highlighted the state's legitimate interest in ensuring the quality and standard of education across all institutions. While acknowledging the High Court's directive for student relocation, the Supreme Court expressed concern over its potential impact on the education of nearly 17 lakh students enrolled in these institutions.

The state government had previously defended the provisions of the Act before the High Court. However, it informed the Supreme Court of its intention to abide by the High Court's judgment, prompting the current legal challenge by affected institutions.

In response to the High Court's ruling, which deemed the Act violative of Section 22 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, the Supreme Court issued notices to the state, directing it to file a counter affidavit by May 31. The appellants were granted time until June 30 to respond to the state's submissions.