The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Amendment Bill 2021, passed by the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha in March 2021, came into effect on June 1, 2021. As per the new law, educational institutions run by the religious and linguistic minorities in Gujarat will now have to recruit teachers who have qualified the Teacher's Aptitude Test (TAT). Earlier, the educational institutions run by the Church in the state had the autonomy to appoint both teaching and non-teaching staff, including the principal. Rules and regulations for the administration of the institution and disciplinary measures for the students and staff were also decided by the Board of Governors of such institutions. Now all such minority-run institutions that receive the state's financial aid will have to appoint staff, including principals, as per the new government norms.
The minority groups of Gujarat have jointly moved the state's High Court on June 7, 2021 seeking to quash the newly implemented law. In a viral WhatsApp message circulated in the state, Father (Dr) Teles Fernandes, secretary - Gujarat Education Board of Catholic Institutions (GEBCI), has termed the new law "the last nail in the coffin of minority rights granted under Article 30 (1)". It must be noted that while Article 30 of the Indian Constitution empowers the 'minorities' with the right to establish and administer their own educational institutions, on the other hand Article 28 of the Indian Constitution prohibits religious instruction in public institutions and Article 27 of the Indian Constitution forbids the state from levying taxes on its citizens for the promotion of any particular religion or religious
denomination. Thus, the affairs of Hindu Temples is overtaken by the state and the 93rd amendment selectively applies to Hindu run educational institutions alone, as Hindus are devoid of the minority status.
The Education Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama while tabling the bill in the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha in March 2021 had stated that the amendment followed the orders of the Supreme Court and Gujarat High Court. He further added that the amendment was required to bring in quality education which will be a brighter opportunity to tap the power of students, as reported in The Indian Express.
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