Right to govt. aid, not Fundamental Right: SC

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    In Context 

    • Recently, the Supreme Court held in a judgment that the right of an institution, whether run by a majority or minority community, to get government aid is not a fundamental right.
      • Both have to equally follow the rules and conditions of the aid.

    Background 

    • The judgment came in an appeal filed by Uttar Pradesh against a decision of the Allahabad High Court to declare a provision of the Intermediate Education Act of 1921 unconstitutional.

    Key Points of judgement 

    • According to Article 30(2) on the ground that an institution is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language, a grant of aid to that educational institution cannot be discriminated against if other educational institutions are entitled to receive aid.
    • The Bench clarified that if the government made a policy call to withdraw aid, an institution cannot question the decision as a “matter of right”.
    • A grant of government aid comes with accompanying conditions. An institution is free to choose to accept the grant with the conditions or go its own way.
    • If an institution does not want to accept and comply with the conditions accompanying such aid, it is well open to it to decline the grant and move in its own way. 
    • On the contrary, an institution can never be allowed to say that the grant of aid should be on its own terms

    Reasons were given by the court

    • The court explained why institutions cannot view government aid as a “matter of right”.
    • Firstly, government aid is a policy decision. It depends on various factors including the interests of the institution itself and the ability of the government to understand the exercise.
    • Financial constraints and deficiencies are the factors that are considered relevant in taking any decision qua aid, including both the decision to grant aid and the manner of disbursement of aid.

    Fundamental Rights

    • The Constitution offers all citizens, individually and collectively, some basic freedoms. These are guaranteed in the Constitution in the form of six broad categories of Fundamental Rights, which are justifiable. Article 12 to 35 contained in Part III of the Constitution deals with Fundamental Rights. These are:
      • Right to equality, including equality before the law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment.
      • Right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation (some of these rights are subject to security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality).
      • Right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labour, child labour and traffic in human beings.
      • Right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practise, and propagation of religion.
      • Right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice; and
      • Right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.

    Source: TH