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29. Protection of interests of minorities

(1) Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same

(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

What's the relevance of subsection (2) with regard to the title of the section? Why weren't it a part of Article 15?

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2 Answers 2

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Article 15

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only 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 palaces 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 the general public

(3) [irrelevant for the question]

(4) Nothing in this article or in clause ( 2 ) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes

Comparison

Reading Article 15 carefully, there is no provision about any schools in it. The State can not discriminate under Art.15(1), but a private school is citizens, which are under Art.15(2). But a school is neither a shop, public restaurant or place of entertainment under Art.15(2)(a), nor is it any of the sanitary facilities under Art.15(2)(b), and thus access to a school is not at all under Art.15.

Article 15(4) itself refers to Article 29(2) even, carving out special exception to deal with problems in a limited manner.

What's the relevance of subsection (2) with regard to the title of the section?

Art.15(2) does give special protection to minorities that are defined by religion, race, caste, language or any of them in schooling. As a result, if a private university - which is not covered under Article 15(2)(a) - takes a single tax dollar, it can not have a rule that says, that all attendants need to be of a certain religion, race, caste or language.

Why weren't it a part of Article 15?

That is a question you would need to ask the writers of the Constitution.

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Article 15 does not prohibit discrimination based upon language, while Article 29(2) does prohibit discrimination based upon language in admissions to schools with some state connnection.

Also, except for Article 15(2), Article 15 involves discrimination by the government, while Article 29(2) applies to discrimination by private but government funded schools, and not just government schools.

Article 15(2) doesn't just apply only to the government, but doesn't apply to schools and doesn't apply to discrimination based upon language.

Why wasn't it a part of Article 15?

Sir B. N. Rau wrote the first draft of the Indian Constitution of 1949 243 articles and 13 schedules. The final draft had 395 articles and 8 schedules after discussions, debates and amendments (152 more articles and 5 fewer schedules). The current fundamental rights section includes Articles 12-35.

It is reasonable to surmise that Mr. Rau drafted some version of Article 15, but that Article 29, or at least Article 29(2), was added sometime later in the drafting process after being proposed by another author who was more concerned with clearly stating a policy related to school admissions than with the drafting elegance of the 1949 Constitution as a whole.

Specifically:

Draft Article 23(1)-(2) (Article 29) were debated on 7 and 8 December 1948. It aimed to secure the cultural and educational rights of minorities.

One member proposed to amend clause (1) to give minorities the right to ‘develop’ their culture. He argued that culture was not static; it was dynamic and progressive, and the Draft Article should reflect the same. This was rejected by the Assembly.

Another member wanted to limit the scope of the Draft Article only to linguistic minorities. He argued that recognizing special rights for religious minorities would promote communalism. This was in contrast to a proposal to expand the Draft Article to cover religious, racial, caste, and linguistic minorities.

The second proposal was accepted by the Assembly, and the Draft Article was adopted on 8 December 1948.

Links to the verbatim record of the committee meeting of the Fundamental Rights committee on these dates can be found at the link.

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