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Madrasa Education Act 2004 Unconstitutional by Allahabad High Court

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 23-03-2024
Madrasa Education Act 2004 Unconstitutional by Allahabad High Court Uttar Pradesh 6 min read

The Allahabad High Court's Lucknow bench has declared the UP Board of Madarsa Education Act of 2004 as unconstitutional. 

  • The court ruled that the act violated the principle of secularism, as well as several articles of the Constitution, including articles 14, 21, and 21-A. Additionally, the court found that the act also contravened section 22 of the University Grants Commission Act of 1956.

Key highlights of the Judgment 

  • A court in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has directed the state government to provide regular school education to students enrolled in madarsas. 
  • The court wants these students to be accommodated in primary, high school, and intermediate education boards of the state. 
  • The ruling came in response to a plea filed by a lawyer who had challenged the constitutionality of a law passed by the state government. 
  • The law allowed madrasas to provide education in Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Islamic studies, Tibb Logic, philosophy and other branches of learning without recognition by the state's education boards. 
  • The court found the law to be unconstitutional as it violated the principle of secularism, which is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution, as well as articles 14, 15, and 21-A. The ruling will affect 16,513 madarsas in the state, of which 560 receive grants from the government. The court has asked the state government to create additional seats in regular schools for these students and establish new schools if necessary. 
  • The state government is yet to decide whether to comply with the verdict or challenge it in the Supreme court. A survey conducted by the state in 2022 found an additional 8,449 madarsas in the state to be running without recognition. 
  • Recently, a special investigative team recommended that the government close them down as their source of funds could not be established.

Against the Secularism

  • To be recognized by the board, a madarsa must be established as a Muslim minority institution where every student studies Islam in every class to be promoted.
  • Modern subjects are either not taught or are optional, and students are only permitted to choose one of the optional subjects.

Against the Article 21, 21-A

  • The court has found that the syllabus of class 10 and 12 in madarsas is inconsistent with the Right to Education of the Constitution. This is because students have limited options to study modern subjects such as maths and science. 
  • They are required to study compulsory subjects such as theology, Urdu, English, and Hindi. The court has noted that students up to class 10 cannot choose to study science, math, and social science simultaneously. 
  • The English taught to class 12 students is of the level of NCERT books of class 10, while the optional science subject taught to class 12 students is of the level of classes 8, 9, and 10. In state boards, science is divided among physics, chemistry, and biology. 
  • The court has concluded that the education under the Madarsa Act is not equivalent to the education being imparted to the students of other regular educational institutions recognized by the state primary and high school and intermediate boards. 
  • Hence, the education being imparted in madarsas is neither of 'quality' nor 'universal' in nature.

Not with norms of UGC Act

  • The law in question was found to be in conflict with the UGC Act. The court noted that previous rulings had established that higher education is a domain reserved for the Centre, and that states lack the authority to create laws in this field. 
  • However, the Act granted the board the right to prescribe textbooks and other instructional material even for courses like 'alim,' undergraduate, 'kamil,' post-graduate, 'fazil,' junior research, and other courses.


Answer: Madarsa Education Act 2004

Answer: Articles 14, 21, and 21-A.
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