Govt's aid for educational institutions not their fundamental right, rules SC

Supreme court | Shutterstock images

New Delhi: Educational institutions, both run by the majority and minority communities, cannot question the government if the latter decided to withdraw the financial aid to them, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul also ruled that aided institutions cannot be differentiated as minority and non-minority establishments.

The court was hearing a petition by the Uttar Pradesh government, challenging a High Court judgment that ruled as unconstitutional the government order withdrawing the permanent appointment of Class-4 employees in aided institutions in the State.

Striking down the High Court court, the apex court observed that financial aid cannot be construed as a fundamental right, and hence there was a limit to questioning the State's decision to withdraw aid.

Discriminatory treatment to institutions belonging to the same category could be questioned.

There could be certain conditions for receiving financial aid. Institutions that cannot accept the conditions may prefer to refuse such aid, the court said. The Supreme Court also said institutions cannot lay conditions for receiving aid from the government.

Article 30 of the Constitution of India, which guarantees minorities the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice, has its own justifiable limitations. The Section could not be interpreted as one providing minorities the right to more aid than other institutions. Institutions that accept grants, should meet the conditions as well, the Supreme Court ruled.

HC stays education dept's order allowing appointments to aided schools 

The High Court of Kerala has also ordered a stay on a directive by the public education department asking officials to approve appointments made by aided school managements during the 2021-22 academic year.

The Director of Public Education issued the order on September 6, directing all deputy directors and district educational officers to approve the appointments before September 24.

Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan issued the stay order while considering a petition by K J Varghese, president of the Kerala Federation of the Blind. The petitioner argued that the appointments made without granting reservation to the differently-abled were illegal.

The court observed that the order by the director did not adhere to a 2018 government directive, allowing reservation in aided school employment as guaranteed by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act. The order breached the rights of disabled persons, the court added.

The court directed the public education department to ensure that reservation has been granted to people with disabilities, if any appointments have been approved, they would be subject to the final verdict on the petition.

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