Dr Koenraad Elst and HHR member discuss the discrimination against Hindus under Article 30 of the Indian Constitution
Why this discrimination against Hindus?
Apart from anti-secular and discriminatory governmental control of all prominent Hindu temples (whereas no Christian church or Muslim mosque has been touched by government control), another issue tormenting Hindus and demolishing Hinduism is the disability heaped on Hindu society by discriminatory Article 30 of the Constitution of India.
For Hindus, discriminatory government control of prominent Hindu temples and religious and educational institutions spells injustice, despair, deprivation, and an unbearable burden.
Two provisions of Indian Constitution, Articles 26 and 30, have been misused by the government to appropriate Hindu temples, and to deny Hindus the same freedom of running their educational institutions given to non-Hindu (minority) communities.
As per Article 30(1) of Constitution, “All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.” Article 30 (1A) restricts the State’s right to acquire property of a minority educational institution whereas Article 30(2) prevents State discrimination against a minority educational institution.
During deliberations of the Constituent Assembly, it was presumed that majority community i.e. the Hindus were automatically entitled to the rights stipulated for minorities in Articles 29 and 30. But in actual practice, these rights have been denied to Hindus by the government. There is no similar provision in the constitution of any other country in the world where majority has been denied such a basic right.
It is perplexing that though ‘secularism’ implies separation of State and religion, and non-discrimination on grounds of religion, in India Hindu temples and institutions have been targeted for government interference and control whereas non-Hindu institutions are bestowed special privileges. That is the reason as discussed below, even premier Hindu organizations like Rama Krishna Mission prefer to be labelled as non-Hindu religious minority to get protection given to minorities under Article 30.
Fragmentation of Hindu society
Article 30 giving special privileges to minorities regarding educational institutions is fragmenting Hindu society since various Hindu sects claim non-Hindu status to get benefit of Article 30. As reported in the Supreme Court’s judgement Bramchari Sidheswar Shai & Others versus State of West Bengal (AIR 1995 Supreme Court 2089), even Ramakrishna Mission, a leading Hindu organization, claimed a minority (non-Hindu) status to fall under Article 30.
As a Hindu institution, Rama Krishna Mission did not enjoy the rights granted to minority institutions by Article 30. In 1980, Rama Krishna Mission was facing some problems in its educational institutions and apprehended government intervention and takeover. Instead of fighting injustice, Rama Krishna Mission claimed a non-Hindu (minority) status before Calcutta High Court to come under protection of Article 30. Though persons like Swami Vivekanand, the pioneers of the said Mission had taken pride in being Hindus, but because of disabilities attached to Hindu institutions, Ramakrishna Mission abdicated Hinduism to claim the status of a non-Hindu minority religion.
Though, the High Court allowed Ramakrishna Mission’s petition, vide its above-mentioned judgement reported as Bramchari Sidheswar Shai & Others versus State of West Bengal (AIR 1995 Supreme Court 2089), Supreme Court reversed the High Court’s judgement and held that Rama Krishna Mission was a Hindu institution, and was not entitled to protection under Article 30.
Besides, as can be seen from the Supreme Court’s judgements reported as D.A.V. College, Bhatinda v. State of Punjab (AIR 1971 Supreme Court 1731) and D.A.V. College, Jullundur v. State of Punjab (AIR 1971 Supreme Court 1737), a section of Arya Samaj institutions had also claimed minority institution status for coming under the benign protection of Articles 29 and 30.
Likewise, to get benefits of Articles 29 and 30, many other sects of Hindu religion proclaim that they are not Hindu sects.
Demand of genuine secularism
Article 30 discriminates against Hindus on grounds of religion, and therefore, does injustice to the Secular nature of Indian Republic.
Though ‘Secularism’ is a sublime concept, it has been driven to dismal depths by its perverse practitioners in India. Literally, the word ‘secular’ means temporal or worldly as against religious or ecclesiastical. Historically and politically, ‘secularism’ implies separation of State and religion, and non-discrimination on grounds of religion. But in India, secularism has been equated with “anti-Hinduism”.
It is baffling that Hindus are suffering discrimination, injustice and deprivation brought about by article 30 in silence.
It is puzzling that no political party is articulating the inequities brought about by Article 30, and demanding amendment of Article 30 to extend the rights granted thereunder to Hindus also.
Presumably to pre-empt BJP to get mileage for taking up this issue, Syed Shahabuddin introduced the “Constitution (Amendment of Article 30) Bill” in Indian Parliament in 1995 for extending the benefits of article 30 both to minorities and majority communities. However, this Bill did not reach the voting stage. It is shocking that no one has taken up this issue after that so far. Even BJP has never taken up this issue in Parliament.
Article 30 constitutes a blatant discrimination against Hindus. It has to be amended and re-written in order to ensure equal rights to all Indian citizens. Hindus cannot survive with their hands and feet tied by state control of their institutions.
It is imperative that patent inequities heaped on Hindus by Article 30 are articulated, and a Constitution (Amendment) Bill to suitably amend Article 30 so as to extend the rights stipulated therein to all the communities including Hindus is introduced in Parliament at the earliest.
This is not to suggest that minorities should be deprived of their rights conferred by Article 30. This is only to stress that the rights conferred by Article 30 on minorities must be extended also to Hindus. And being Hindu should not be a disability.
Though Constitution of India has been amended over 100 times in 55 years of its existence since 1950, no one has thought of amending Article 30, and extending the right given to minorities also to Hindus.
Let a Constitution (Amendment) Bill be introduced in Parliament at the earliest to amend Article 30 to extend the fundamental right granted therein also to Hindus. No individual and no political party can have any valid reason to oppose the said amendment since it proposes to extend the said fundamental right to Hindus without depriving minorities of the same.
Do you approve of discrimination?
Besides being discriminatory, anti-Hindu and anti-secular, Article 30 has divided the nation into majority and minority, and has led to damaging consequences.
With the proposed amendment of article 30, the state would be debarred from regulating, supervising or interfering with the administration and practices followed in Hindu institutions as is the case with minority institutions. Educational institutions run by Hindus should be free to propagate and preach Hinduism with the same constitutional protection at present given to minority religions.
Such discrimination does not exist in any other country. This discrimination also betrays abject Hindu surrender before injustice; as also incompetence of so called Hindu leaders.
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962), “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Have Hindus given their consent for such a flagrant discrimination?
By J.G. Arora
–Author’s e-mail address : firstname.lastname@example.org
The Free Press Journal,
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