The Kerala High Court has recently passed a Judgment dated 24-01-2020 in The Trustee, Hidaya Educational & Charitable Trust v. State of Kerala, whereby the Court held that an educational institution seeking Government recognition cannot impart exclusive religious studies in preference over another religion.
The school in this case was run by Hidaya Educational and Charitable Trust that gave admissions exclusively to students who were adherent to the Islamic religion. Moreover, their syllabus was also set in accordance with that of Muslim Educational Institutions. Thus, after conducting an inspection, the Deputy Director of Education, Trivandrum issued an order to shut down the School on the ground that there was an attempt to promote exclusively Shariah Law.
The Kerala High Court held that education builds and transforms the personality and the future of a child and enables the child to understand the diversity of religion, tradition, culture, etc around him/her. Thus, this should be essence of education in a multi-religious society.
Moreover, State funded schools are bound to follow secularism which is the basic structure of the Constitution of India 1950 as amended thereof, i.e. any State cannot provide sectarian religious choices in a society of various religious practices.
Therefore, the Kerala High Court held that all the educational institutions which need recognition of the Government should abstain from imparting religious instructions or religious study, whereas, private unaided educational institutions have to approach the Government for granting or refusing permission to impart religious education or instruction. Failing which, the Government would take action of closure or de-recognition of such schools.
4th year, Galgotias University
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Senior Legal Associate, The Indian Lawyer