ARTICLE 28

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Introduction

A crucial tenet that guarantees the preservation of secular ideals in the nation’s educational system is Article 28 of the Indian Constitution. This article, which is highly significant, guarantees every citizen the freedom of religion and protects them from religious instruction or activities that may be incompatible with their views. Article 28 serves as a guardian, directing India’s educational institutions towards disseminating knowledge without any bias or discrimination based on religious connections, embodying the country’s commitment to developing a varied and inclusive society. This article is essential for sustaining India’s constitutional ideals and promoting peace in a setting where people can practice their religions openly while traveling a shared route to knowledge and enlightenment.

What does Article 28 states ?

Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions

(1) No religion instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds

(2) Nothing in clause ( 1 ) shall apply to an educational institution which is administered by the State but has been established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted in such institution

(3) No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto Cultural and Educational Rights.

Clauses of Article 28
  • Clause (1) – No institution that is completely supported by finances from outside the state is allowed to provide religious instruction, according to Clause (1) of Article 28.
  • Clause (2)– However, according to this Article’s Clause (2), this provision does not apply to educational institutions that receive state funding but were founded under any trust or endowment that expressly or implicitly mandates that religious instruction be taught there.
  • Clause (3)– According to Article 28(3), no person who is enrolled in or receiving financial aid from a state-recognized institution may be asked to participate in any religious instruction that may be given there. Additionally, he shall not be coerced or forced to attend any religious workshop that may be held at such an establishment or in a location adjacent to or close by such an establishment. It is evident from a cursory reading of Clause (3) of Article 28 that it supplements Article 30(1).
Landmark judgements regarding Article 28

Ms. Aruna Roy and others v. Union of India and others (2002)

  • The petitioner invoked Article 32 of the Indian Constitution to initiate a public interest lawsuit. The National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE), which was released by the National Council for Educational Research and Training, or NCERT, was particularly criticized in the petition.
  • However, the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) was not consulted before the same was released. The main argument was that it should be disregarded because it was disseminated without CABE’s consent. It’s also vital to note that the CABE has been around since 1935 and has always been consulted in situations similar to this one.
  • Issue at hand :- Whether the NCFSE’s curriculum, which violates the secularism principle that is a key component of our fundamental framework, is illegal. Does this Act violate Articles 21, 27, and 28 as well?
  • The Apex Court ruled that the curriculum does not violate Articles 21, 27, or 28 because it is not unconstitutional. The Court continued by stating that the NCFSE’s chosen and publicized syllabus does not in any manner transmit religious instruction and is therefore not in breach of Article 28.
  • The Apex Court ruled that there is no rule or government notification requiring consultation prior to publication as it relates to consultation with CABE. It is also very important to understand that CABE is not a statutory authority. Non-consultation cannot be used as justification for removing the relevant syllabus.

D. A. V. College Bathinda, Etc v. State of Punjab and Others (1971)

  • In order to promote Shri Guru Nanak Devji and commemorate his 500th birthday, the Punjab Legislature founded Guru Nanak University in Amritsar in 1969. The institution opted to incorporate Guru Nanak’s teachings into its curriculum within the framework of Indian and global civilization.
  • Issues at hand :- Whether the study of Guru Nanak’s teachings is a breach of Article 28(1).
  • Observation and judgment :- The Supreme Court determined that the Article does not prohibit the study of religions, particularly when they teach important knowledge and life lessons. The Court ruled that it does not constitute giving out religious instruction.

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