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Provisions Of Minorities As Constituted Under Indian Constitution

The fact that India is a diverse country is widely known. As William J. Duiker put it, "A land of diversity" It is clear from both its languages and cultures as well as from its physical traits that India was and still is a diverse country. India is home to a staggering linguistic diversity. It shares the Middle East's well-earned distinction as the birthplace of religion. Regarding academia and international relations, India is widely regarded as the world's largest democracy.

Generally speaking, democracy is a widely recognised form of government whose roots may be found in ancient Greece. Under democracy, every state citizen plays a part in daily political administration and decision-making processes, either directly or indirectly. This type of governance is widely recognised as a means of achieving inclusive public administration and a political system since it is based on the ideal pillars of justice, liberty, equality, and the rule of law.

For this reason, democracy was regarded as the most admirable form of government by the majority of Western thinkers. In their edited volume, for example, Larry Diamond and Gi- Wook Shin stated that "democracy is the best form of government or most preferred political system." However, this does not imply that democracy is the best option available. Many people held the opinion that, despite its many admirable qualities, democracy is not without flaws, loopholes, and fundamental paradoxes.

Winston Churchill famously remarked, "Democracy is the worst form of government except all the other forms that have been tried from time to time," keeping this in mind. According to J.S. Mill, there are problems with the fundamental design and functioning of democracy, which compromises minority rights in favour of majority control. This phenomenon is known by J. S. Mill as the "tyranny of the majority."

A government that chooses to implement a democratic political system does so by applying the majority rule. This raised a number of issues for the general public and rational, idealism political theorists. What about the masses and those who did not support the governing party, who do not share the religious beliefs of the ruling class, and whose opinions and beliefs are at odds with those of the majority in society? Because of this, the minority is more open to the crimes and assaults committed by the majority classes.

Therefore, it is perfectly normal and natural for minority to feel insecure and fear the dominance of the majority in a democratic country like India. Therefore, it makes sense that minorities would cry out and beg for constitutional protections to preserve their rights and privileges in a diverse society. Individual liberty and human rights are universally recognised to have plenty of room and appreciation in a democratic working environment. Human rights are "said to be best protected within the political framework of democracy."

It has created a political structure and system of government in which citizens' freedoms and rights are given top priority. Maintaining a balance between the rights and liberties of individuals and groups is an additional responsibility of the same democracy that is founded on liberty, justice, and equality. This emphasises how crucial it is to provide opportunities for groups to maintain their distinctive and varied identities as well as enough room for individuals to develop and reach their full potential.

Defining Minorities
Generally speaking, minorities are smaller groups of people who clearly distinguish themselves from the majority despite their smaller numbers. Due to their diminished strength, individuals have a tendency to become more aware of their rights and privileges, making claims for constitutional protections and rights, and working for their advancement. According to Louis Wirth, "a minority is a group of people who, as a result of being singled out from others in their society for differential and unequal treatment because of their physical or cultural characteristics, and who, as a result, regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination."

"A group that is numerically smaller than the remainder of the population in a state, in a non-dominant position, whose members are state nationals and who, despite being citizens of the state, exhibit, if subtly, a sense of solidarity aimed at maintaining their culture, traditions, religion, and language."

Minority and Multiculturalism in India
A thorough investigation into the relationship between the struggles faced by minorities and widespread violations of human rights worldwide, coupled with the persistent claims made by these groups even in developed, forward-thinking nations, spurred a shift in academic discourse away from the politics and cultures of the majority and minority. This paved the way for the methodical and empirical investigation of a notion known as "multiculturalism" in democratic ideas. The existence of minorities in majority society and the significance of special rights, privileges, and concessions to allow the minority to preserve their distinct and unique identities of religion, caste, language, culture, etc. began to be considered by political scientists.

Since "we cannot have a democracy without minorities" and "where there is no democracy the question of minorities as such cannot arise," minorities and democracy are additional and complimentary in nature. A democracy's ability to succeed is determined by the complimentary and supplemental nature of minorities and democracy. If minorities seeking refuge in India are given the highest level of security, safety, and confidence, then a multicultural nation like India may truly be considered a democratic success. Franklin Roosevelt draws attention to this fact and foreshadows the idea that "no democracy can long survive which does not accept the recognition of the rights of minorities as fundamental to its very existence."

India is a tapestry of social, economic, and ethnic variety. In India, there are at least 3000 castes and 25,000 subcastes under the ancient caste system, which is still very important to society and politics. Only 22 of the more than 1,500 mother tongues that are believed to exist—33 of which are spoken by more than 100,000 people—are officially recognised in the nation. In India, there are 4635 distinct groups that differ from one another in terms of biological characteristics, attire, language, religion, vocation, dietary preferences, and familial structures. These groups have mixed ancestry with Proto-Austratoid, Paleo-Mediterranean, Caucasian, Negroid, and Mangoloid ancestry.

Such a nation's political system will face the difficult challenge of resolving disputes and conflicts that result from rival and diametrically opposed goals and interests. Since India is "a confederation of minorities," the status and privileges of minorities have a special meaning there. India's social, cultural, linguistic, and pluralistic environment fostered a vicious cycle that allowed for the harmonious coexistence of many identities. Additionally, this left the minorities open to the majority's tyranny and desires.

The Indian democracy is severely troubled by the minority' cries and demands for the preservation of their identities and rights. "There has long been a history of conflict between the majorities and minorities in India, spanning several centuries." The history of India's liberation movement against British imperialism and colonialism is replete with incidents of communal rioting, which culminated in the country's partition and had far-reaching effects on the rights of minorities.

Constituent Assembly on Minority Rights
The framers of the Indian constitution were careful to draft a constitution that quenched the nation's thirst for unity while accommodating the individual aspirations and demands of individual communities. They pledged to create a socio-economic and political environment that was conducive for the peaceful coexistence of the nation's diverse identities and communities. The constituent assembly finally approved a constitution after much deliberation and debate, but it did not grant any religious minority—aside from Anglo-Indians—any specific political rights.

In order to maintain the state's impartiality and neutrality in matters of religion, the nation was proclaimed secular19. According to the principles of the Indian constitution, all citizens of the nation are entitled to equality before the law and equal opportunities. In fact, minorities in India are not granted any unique or special rights under the Constitution, with the exception of a few that pertain to their language, culture, and education.

This does not imply that the Indian Constitution and Constituent Assembly were unaware of the need to advance the interests of the historically marginalised, socially backward, and discriminated-against segments of society. It has included a number of clauses and changes aimed at improving the lot of society's less fortunate groups. Examining the Constitution's provisions pertaining to minorities' rights reveals that these rights are primarily derived from four sources:

The Preamble of the 'Indian Constitution'
"WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into an SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC," begins the preamble to the Indian Constitution. The preamble firmly states that India is a secular nation. The preamble of the Indian Constitution did not contain the word "secular" when it was passed in 1950. The word "secular" was introduced into the preamble of the Indian Constitution in 1976 with the passage of the 42nd amendment.

This does not imply that the writers of the constitution did not want India to be secular prior to its insertion. It's just that secularism was stated more clearly in the 42nd Amendment. This does not imply that the writers of the constitution did not want India to be secular prior to its insertion. It's just that secularism was stated more clearly in the 42nd Amendment. Before, the Articles 25 to 28 that addressed the right to freedom of religion subtly emphasised the secular nature of the nation.

The claim that "all religions in our country (irrespective of their strength) have the same status and support from the state" is embodied in the positive sense of secularism found in the Indian constitution. This implies that no religion shall be considered a national or state religion and that no specific religion shall be granted any preferential treatment. The Indian state would accord equal status and respect to all religions.

Part III of the Indian Constitution
The fundamental elements of the Indian Constitution are contained in Part III. Article 12-35 is where the Fundamental Rights are enshrined. In this case, the United States Constitution served as the model for the framers of the US Constitution, inspiring them to construct specific, enforceable fundamental rights. All of the nation's citizens are entitled, without exception, to the benefits and privileges protected by the fundamental rights. The protection of the greater public interest, the equality of society, the dignity of the person, and the preservation of national unity are all guaranteed by the fundamental rights. The rights are referred to as essential rights since the country's ultimate law, the constitution, guarantees and protects them.

"The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India," states Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. Every citizen of the nation will have equal access to and protection from the law under this provision. Legal jurisprudence will not regard any one person as somewhat superior to another.

However, nothing in this Article or paragraph (2) of Article 29 shall prohibit the State from providing any special provisions for the advancement of any people who are socially and educationally backward, or for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. This is what Article 15(4) states. This article authorised the government apparatus to create any specific provisions necessary for the advancement of socially disadvantaged groups in accordance with the constitution.

The Gopal Singh Committee Report and the Sachar Committee Report provided evidence for the Muslims' lack of economic and scholastic advancement. Muslims, who constitute a minority in Indian society, are also eligible for the advantages and coverage of reservation in a number of Indian states, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and others.

The Indian Constitution states in Article 19 that "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression; To gather peacefully and without using force; To organise groups or unions; To travel freely across India's territory; To live and dwell anywhere in the country; and To engage in any kind of profession or business.

The characteristics of a prosperous political democracy are these liberties. They serve as the cornerstone of everyone's overall growth as well as a tranquil and productive life in human society. These freedoms—of expression, assembly, unionisation, mobility, profession, settlement, etc.—are fundamental to the development and advancement of minorities. Minority rights may be suppressed by majority groups in society if these liberties are not guaranteed under the constitution.

"Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion," states Article 25 of the Indian Constitution. This right grants someone the ability to follow, practise, and propagate any religion they so choose. The state is not allowed to enforce or prohibit any specific religious custom or tradition. Minorities are thus somewhat shielded from the nation's dominant religions' attacks.

"Every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes; to manage its own affairs in matters of religion," according to Article 26 of the Indian Constitution, "subject to public order, morality, and health."

Acquire and possess both immovable and moveable property; and Manage said property in compliance with legal requirements. The collective rights of a religion are safeguarded and guaranteed by these rights. Minority religious communities' rights and privileges will be safe and protected as a result.

"No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes, the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination," states Article 27 of the Indian Constitution.This guarantees that the state is not using tax dollars for the benefit and advancement of one religion at the expense of others, including religions practiced by minorities. The likelihood of minority religions being marginalised and excluded increases when a government is established that is affiliated with the dominant religion. However, article 27's prohibitions prevent these kinds of biassed inclinations.

"No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds," states Article 28 of the Indian Constitution.This provision guarantees that no educational institution, whether completely or partially supported by the state, will force anybody to follow religious teachings. Additionally, this will shield minorities from attempts by the majority religious school to force them to adhere to their religion doctrine.

Any segment of the population living in India or any of its territories that has a unique language, script, or culture of its own must have the right to preserve it, according to Article 29 of the Indian Constitution.(2) No citizen shall be refused entry into any State-run educational facility or assistance funded by State money based solely on their race, religion, caste, language, or any combination of these. This is one of those articles that discusses the nation's minorities alone and explicitly. These articles provide minorities assistance in preserving and defending their unique script, language, and culture.
  1. All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice," reads Article 30 of the Indian Constitution.
  2. When providing funding to educational institutions, the State is prohibited from treating any institution differently because it is run by a minority, regardless of the institution's language or religion.
This article protects minorities' right to establish and run educational institutions and forbids the state from discriminating against them while providing funding.

Directive Principles of State Policy'
The guidelines and recommendations that an Indian state should have in mind when enacting laws, formulating policies, and carrying them out are known as "Directive Principles of State Policy." the "Directive Principles of State policy," which are included in Articles 36 through 51. The "Directive Principles of State Policy" and "Fundamental Rights" together constitute the foundation of the Indian political system and public administration. Granville Austin has described the Directive Principles and the Fundamental Rights as the Constitution's conscience in this context.

Articles and clauses of the Directive Principles of State Policy serve as a safeguard for the rights of minorities in India, either directly or indirectly.

A few of them are doing the following:
  • Article 38: The State shall endeavour to advance the welfare of the people by establishing and defending a social order in which justice—social, economic, and political—shall guide all the institutions of the national life. This includes protecting the rights of minorities by upholding various aspects of justice.
  • Article 39: The state is required to ensure equal justice and provide free legal aid, offering justifiable support for the rights of minorities.
  • Article 46: The State is called upon to promote the economic and educational advancement of the population's poorer segments. In line with this, the government has launched several programs, such as skill development initiatives, for the underprivileged, including minorities.
  • Article 49: The state is urged to protect monuments, places, and objects of national importance, reducing the risk of damage or loss to historical monuments associated with the nation's minorities.

Miscellaneous Articles in Indian Constitution
In addition to the protections and provisions mentioned above and in the Preamble, Fundamental Rights, and Directive Principles of State Policy, the Indian Constitution has a number of other articles that either explicitly or implicitly address the rights and advantages of minorities in India. Here are a few of them:
  • Article 347 discusses a unique provision that grants the President the authority to formally recognise a language that is spoken by a significant portion of the people. This could serve as a defence for minority languages.
  • "Guaranteeing representation of Anglo-Indians in Union and State legislatures through nominations if needed, special provision for the community in certain services, and special provision with respect to educational grants for their benefit" are the special provisions found in Articles 331, 333, 334, 336, and 337.
  • A "Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities" must be appointed by the President in accordance with Article 350(B), "whose duty shall be to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under this Constitution and report to the President upon those matters."

Minorities can discover a wealth of articles and clauses in the Indian Constitution that protect their rights and privileges. The Indian Constitution is a classic example of how different demands made by individuals from diverse cultures and identities can be accommodated and adjusted. The Indian Constitution provides minorities with numerous avenues to protect their rights. The "preamble," "Fundamental Rights," "Directive Principles of State Policy," and numerous additional articles and sections all uphold these principles. Consequently, it is evident that the Indian Constitution plays a vital role in ensuring the rights and advantages of minorities in India.

Written By: Akanksha

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