Gauhati High Court upholds Assam’s new Madrasa law


Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court on Friday upheld a 2020 Assam Assembly law which seeks to convert all state-run Madrasas into regular schools.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia observed that the changes brought about by the legislative and executive action of the state are for the provincialised madrassas alone, which are government schools, and not for private or community ones.

The Court said in its judgement that Madrasas which are wholly maintained by the state cannot impart religious instructions in terms of the mandate of Article 28(1) of the Constitution of India. Notably, the court had concluded the hearing on January 27 and had reserved its judgement, which was passed on Friday.

It may be mentioned here that in December 2020, the Assam government passed a law repealing the Assam Madrasa Education (Provincialization) Act and the Assam Madrasa Education Act, 2018, in a bid to abolish all state-run Madrasa as well as initiate a change in curricula by dropping Islamic subjects.

The then Education Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, had said it was done to reform the education system to make it secular.

Subsequently, 13 petitioners, who were either donors or presidents of managing committees of the land on which the Madrasa were built, moved the Gauhati High Court, saying the government’s move violated the fundamental rights under Articles 25, 26, 29 and 30, among others.

Meanwhile, reacting to the latest development, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took to Twitter and termed it a landmark judgment.