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‘Madrasas in Kerala involved in only religious activities, what is the purpose of funding them’’ Kerala HC asks Pinarayi Vijayan govt

A division bench comprising Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Kauser Edappagath observed that the madrasas in Kerala are different from those being run in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal which have been imparting secular as well as religious education.

On Tuesday, the Kerala High Court asked the Pinarayi Vijayan-led state government why it was financing a religious activity by pumping vast amounts of public money to run madrasas in the state.

According to the reports, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday heard a petition filed by Manoj, secretary of Citizen Organisation for Democracy, Equality, Tranquility, and Secularism, seeking to quash the Kerala Madrasa Teachers’ Welfare Fund Act, 2019. The act passed by the Kerala government aims to disburse pension and other benefits to madrasa teachers. 

C Rajendran, counsel for the petitioner, said that these madrasas in Kerala only impart knowledge about the Quran and other textbooks pertaining to Islam. However, under the act, the madrasas in Kerala are getting huge amounts of money for the said purposes, which is unconstitutional and against the principles of secularism enshrined in the Constitution, the petitioner argued.

The petitioner said the government is contributing public money to the scheme. The welfare fund pays a fixed amount and pension to a madrasa teacher who has completed 60 years and has remitted contribution for not less than five years.

Hearing the petition, the Kerala High Court also asked the Kerala government to clarify whether it has contributed to the Kerala Madrasa Teachers’ Welfare Fund.

A division bench comprising Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Kauser Edappagath observed that the madrasas in Kerala are different from those being run in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal which have been imparting secular as well as religious education. However, in Kerala, the madrasas only imparted religious education, said Kerala HC while questioning the purpose of funding such religious activity.

“In Kerala, these are involved purely in religious activity. What is the purpose of contributing funds by the state for a religious activity?” the Kerala HC asked the state government regarding funding madrasas in the state.

Kerala HC quashes controversial order on minority scholarships

Earlier this week, in a significant judgement, the Kerala High Court had quashed three government orders pertaining to minority scholarships that fixed the ratio of scholarship distribution at 80:20 between Muslims and Christians. 

The Kerala Court had directed the government to disburse the merit-cum-means scholarships equally among notified minority communities as per the latest population census. This has raked up controversies for the newly re-elected CPI(M)-led LDF government as the Muslim organizations demand that the entire quota be reserved for them.

A 2015 Kerala government order had allocated 80:20 distribution of the merit-cum-means scholarship for minority communities to Muslims and Latin Catholic Christians and Converted Christians respectively. However, Christians constitute 18.38 per cent of Kerala’s population while Muslims constitute 26.56 per cent of the state population thereby making the ratio unfair. 

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