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Cultural and Educational Rights

The working of democracy gives power to the majority. It is the language, culture and religion of minorities that needs special protection. Otherwise, they may get neglected or undermined under the impact of the language, religion and culture of the majority. That is why the Constitution specifies the cultural and educational rights of the minorities:

1. Any section of citizens with a distinct language or culture has a right to conserve it.

2. Admission to any educational institution maintained by government or receiving government aid cannot be denied to any citizen on the ground of religion or language.

3. All minorities have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

Here minority does not mean only religious minority at the national level. In some places people speaking a particular language are in majority; people speaking a different language are in a minority. For example, Telugu speaking people form a majority in Andhra Pradesh. But they are a minority in the neighbouring State of Karnataka. Sikhs constitute a majority in Punjab. But they are a minority in Rajas than, Haryana and Delhi.

Read these news reports and identify the right that is being debated in each of these cases

1. An emergency session of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) rejected the proposal to form a separate body to manage the affairs of Sikh shrines in Haryana. It warned the government that the Sikh community would not tolerate any interference in their religious affairs. (June 2005)


2. The Allahabad High Court quashed the Central law, which gave Aligarh Muslim University its minority status, and held illegal the reservation of seats for Muslims in its postgraduate medical courses. (January 2006)

3. The Rajasthan Government has decided to enact an anti-conversion law. Christian leaders have said that the Bill would aggravate the sense of insecurity and fear in the minds of minorities. (March 2005)


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