Context:

The right of an institution, whether run by a majority or minority community, to get government aid is not a fundamental right. Both have to equally follow the rules and conditions of the aid, the Supreme Court held in a judgment recently.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions, Important Judgements, Fundamental Rights)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the recent ruling on Right to Government Aid
  2. Key takeaways from the Judgment
  3. Various grounds discussed

About the recent ruling on Right to Government Aid

  • In a recent ruling, the SC held that the right of an institution, whether run by a majority or minority community, to receive government aid is not a fundamental right.
  • It said that all conditions that have relevance to the proper utilisation of the grant-in-aid by an educational institution can be imposed by the government. It also asserted an institution receiving aid is bound by the conditions imposed and therefore expected to comply with the rules.
  • The Bench said that if the government made a policy call to withdraw aid, an institution cannot question the decision as a matter of right.
  • The court added that an institution can never be allowed to say that the grant of aid should be on its own terms.
  • It added that when an institution is not satisfied with the government’s aid, it can deny the grant and move forward on its own. But it is not allowed to ask for a grant of aid on its own terms.

Key takeaways from the Judgment

  • The SC has clarified that if the government made a policy call to withdraw aid, an institution cannot question the decision as a “matter of right”.
  • Whether it is an institution run by the majority or the minority, all conditions that have relevance to the proper utilisation of the grant-in-aid by an educational institution can be imposed.
  • All that Article 30(2) states is that on the ground that an institution is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.
  • The grant of aid to that educational institution cannot be discriminated against, if other educational institutions are entitled to receive aid.

Basis of the Judgment

  • A grant of government aid comes with accompanying conditions.
  • An institution is free to choose to accept the grant with the conditions or go its own way.
  • If an institution does not want to accept and comply with the conditions accompanying such aid, it is well open to it to decline the grant and move in its own way.
  • On the contrary, an institution can never be allowed to say that the grant of aid should be on its own terms, the Bench observed.

Various grounds discussed

The court explained why institutions cannot view government aid as a “matter of right”.

  1. Government aid is a policy decision: It depends on various factors including the interests of the institution itself and the ability of the government to understand the exercise. Therefore, even in a case where a policy decision is made to withdraw the aid, an institution cannot question it as a matter of right.
  2. Financial constraints and deficiencies: These are the factors which are considered relevant in taking any decision qua aid, including both the decision to grant aid and the manner of disbursement of an aid.
  3. Not arbitrary decision: The bench said that a policy decision is presumed to be in public interest, and such a decision once made is not amenable to challenge, until and unless there is manifest or extreme arbitrariness, a Constitutional court is expected to keep its hands off.

-Source: The Hindu

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