| Minority Rights in Indian constitution
There are many theocratic countries where equal rights are not extended to all of its citizens. They have categorized citizens according to their believes. The rights are also attached differently, we must thank the fathers of our constitution who envisioned equal rights to all citizens and added special rights to Religious and Linguistic Minorities.
The Indian constitution guarantees equal rights to all its citizens, violation of which by the State or Central Government can be challenged in the High Court or Supreme Court as per the Article 32 of the Constitution, such cases are taken up with utmost urgency. Article 14 of the constitution states that, 'the State shall not deny to any pers on equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within territory of India.' It gives equal status to all citizens in freedom and dignity. It further makes clear in Article 15, 'the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them, and it offers, 'equal access to public facilities.' The 93rd amendment added a new clause - Clause 5 - to Article 15. This enables the enactment of laws, making special provisions for the socially and educationally backward classes, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in educational institutions including private educational institutions, except in minority institutions.
It is good to understand the Directive Principles and Fundamental Rights. 'Fundamental rights are legally enforceable and guaranteed rights but`` directive principles are not enforceable in any court of law. But under article 31-C, a DP may be framed as law even if it abridges fundamental r ights. The 42nd amendment act allowed DPs to usurp FPs.' Therefore the reservation policy is a directive principle and it can be formulated as per the requirements. It makes clear that the policy on r eservation is a directive principle to help a socially week entity to become better.
The constitution positively undermined the division of opportunities on the basis of birth to any particular entity. It provides equal opportunities in employments which is made clear in Article 16 'there shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state'. It also spells out in clear terms that, 'no citizen shall on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, resident or any of them be ineligible for or discriminated against in any respect of any employment or office under the State.'
It is also to be noted that the constitution provides an additional provision to the government to enact laws to make sure that no section of the society is left out. The Article 16(4) point out that 'Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of posts in favour of any backward class of citizens, which in the opinion of state is not adequately represented in the services under the state'. The constitution has not defined in clear terms what does it mean by backwardness and how do we determine the backwardness. It has definitely raised questions.
Education is seen as the only means to progress for an individual and society at large. So the Article 29 states that 'no citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of the State funds on ground only of religion, race, caste, language, or any of them.' It gives a feeling that unaided educational institutions does not bind by this Article. But opportunity is equally distributed to all.
The constitution of India is very clear in terms of Minority Rights. The Indian Constitution very well protects the minorities and it provides opportunity to develo p to its fullness. The recent communal clashes and accusations on Minorities raises a question that whether the constitutional20rights are exercised well? There is no political will or leadership to pursue the cause of the Minority Community.
Fr. Anand Muttungal
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