ALL INDIA MUSLIM MAJLIS-E-MUSHAWARAT
[Umbrella body of the Indian Muslim Organisations]
D-250, Abul fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025
Tel.: 011-26946780 Fax: 011-26947346 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
18 July, 2010
Muslim Nurse Apprehensions on the Right to Education Act, 2010
AIMMM Demands Amendment to the Act to exclude Muslim Minority Schools and Madrasas from its purview
New Delhi, 18 July, 2010, Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat has issued the following statement;
‘On 10 November 2009, a Delegation of All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM) headed by the then President, Dr Zafarul Islam Khan & including Maulana Ejaz Ahmed Aslam, GS, AIMMM, Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi Salfi, GS, JAH, Mr. Mujtaba Farooq, Secretary, JIH and Prof. S.M. Yahya, submitted a detail Memorandum to Hon’ble Sri Kapil Sibal, Minister of Human Resource Development, to felicitate him on the passage of the historic Right to Education Bill and also to point out its various shortcomings & ambiguities which had caused serious misgivings among the people in general and in the Muslim community in particular.
Indeed some provisions prima facie militate against the educational rights of the minorities in the Constitution under Article30 (1) and also violate the core policies and thrust of the UPA to promote the educational uplift of the Muslim community as a matter of national priority.
The AIMMM Delegation was assured by the Hon’ble Minister that the shortcomings will be addressed and the ambiguities shall be clarified when the Rules were being framed. Unfortunately so far the AIMMM has seen no indication nor received any firm reply from the Hon’ble Minister. There is growing unrest and dissatisfaction in the Muslim community about the future of their educational institutions. This statement, not concerned with the general questions raised in the original Memorandum, deals only with two sections, Section-18 & 19, which are of direct relevance to Muslim situation.
Section 18 (1) lays down that after the commencement of the Act no private school “be established or function, without obtaining a certificate of recognition from such [local] authority, by making an application in such form and manner, as may be prescribed.” The clause further adds that “no such recognition shall be granted to a school unless it fulfills norms and standards specified under section 19”. Sub-section 3 of the same section adds that even recognized schools will be de-recognised for “contravention of the conditions of recognition” while sub-section 4 of the same section says that such derecognized schools will cease to function from the date of the withdrawal of recognition. Sub-section 5 of the same section defines punishment for “any person who establishes or runs a school without obtaining certificate of recognition, or continues to run a school after withdrawal of recognition” and the stipulated punishment is a fine of one lakh rupees. The sub-section adds that “in case of continuing contraventions, the fine will be ten thousand rupees per day as long as the contravention continued…” Clearly this punishment is draconian, arbitrary and in clear violation of the spirit of the “Right to education” .
Section (19) States that no school shall be established or recognized “unless it fulfils the norms and standards…” Under sub-section 2 of Section 19, existing schools are ordered to take steps to fulfill norms and standards at their own expense within a period of three years from the commencement of this law. The same fine as mentioned above in 18(5) is again repeated here under Section 19(5) for any person who continues to run a school after the recognition is withdrawn.
Clearly Sections 18 and 19 will hit poor minorities the hardest and will curtail their right even to run already established schools and to establish new ones. As a result many madrasahs, schools and colleges which are already running, in towns and villages, will shut their doors and it will be much more difficult for the minority, individuals and organisations, to start educational institutions which normally draw their resources from within the poor community.
It goes against the constitutional right of the minorities and the government policy, that running school should be forced to close down on the mere technicality of not meeting “norms” which are arbitrary in nature.
Moreover, norms, especially those related to land and infrastructure, must also be relaxed for minority educational institutions to be established in future, as application of these norms will be tantamount to nullifying the constitutional guarantee for the minorities to establish and run their schools. Even the quantum of required land even in rural areas are beyond the means of the Muslim community. Without such a relaxation, the Right to Education will turn into Denial of Education for the Muslim minority.
Though the Act is silent madrasas, it may be interpreted that the madrasas fall under the category of “unaided schools” (section 2, n.iii). It is our submission that madrasas must be kept out of the purview of this Act and children of age group 6-14 studying in madrasas should be considered as bona fide students fulfilling the purpose of the Act. Moreover, the madrasas should not be subject to the norms applicable to “schools” as defined in this bill.
The AIMMM is of the considered view that the Act must be amended by redefining ‘schools’ to exclude equivalent Muslim minority institutions i.e., minority schools as well as Madarsas, & treat their students as bonafide students who fulfil the object & purpose of the Act.’
Sd/ Syed Shahabuddin
Autorised for publication Abdul Waheed
New Delhi, 18 July, 2010 Office Secretary