Rights of Minorities in Indian Constitution
The Indian Constitution ensures “justice, social, economic and political” to all citizens. The Indian Constitution has adopted measures for the protection of the rights of the religious and ethnic minorities and of the socially and economically disadvantaged classes such as the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
The Indian constitution enshrines various provisions for the protection of the rights and interest of the minorities.
Firstly, India declares herself a secular state. No particular religion or the religion of the overwhelming majority, has been made the religion of the state.
Secondly, Article 29 give the religious and linguistic minorities right to establish and manage educational institutions of their own. The minorities have been given the unrestricted rights to promote and preserve their own culture. Indeed, India is a country of diverse cultural groups and She is keen to preserve her cultural diversity. Thus for example, even though, Hindi is made the official language of India, primary education everywhere is given in the mother tongue. It may be noted that there are over 20 official languages in India.
Thirdly, Article 29 expressly forbids discrimination on grounds of race, religion, caste, language, in admission to educational institutions run by the state or receiving aids from the state. This means that the doors of all educational institutions run by government or receiving funds from the state are open to all groups of Indians. Linguistic, religious or ethnic minority students cannot be denied admission to such educational institutions.
Article 30 is vital to the protection and preservation of rights of the minorities. The minorities have been given the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The state also cannot discriminate against educational institutions established and managed by the minorities in matters of granting aids. Such educational institutions however must receive state recognition. The state educational authorities have the right to regulate such educational institutions because the “right to manage does not include the right to mismanage.”
Article 16 guarantees that in matters of public employment, no discrimination shall be made on grounds of race, religion, caste or language etc. This means that in matters of public employment, all Indians are placed on a footing of equality. Every citizen of India will get equal employment opportunity in government offices.
Finally, Article 25 of the Indian constitution guarantees freedom of religion to every individual. This article of the Indian constitution ensures that the members of the religious minority community have the unhindered right to follow their own religion. The state regulates the practice of a religion only when and to the extent it disturbs public peace. The minority not only has the right to follow their own religion, they also have the right to propagate it. But the state certainly does and should regulate conversion through force or temptation. Forcible conversion is forbidden because it transgresses the individual’s freedom of conscience.
On the whole, the minorities of all kinds have very secure rights in India which must be a matter of envy to the minorities elsewhere.