Centre to fully fund minority scholarships | India News

AHMEDABAD: The Supreme Court has recently disposed of an appeal filed by the Gujarat government, challenging the constitutional validity of the pre-matric scholarship scheme for students from religious minority communities. This was in the wake of the Centre agreeing to fully fund the scheme, instead of 75%, as proposed in the scheme.
The Gujarat government, which had been strongly fighting the legality of the scheme on the premise that the state cannot discriminate against anyone on the basis of religion, also gave up its legal challenge.
While disposing of the state government’s appeal on October 17, the SC said, “Having regard to the submission made at the bar that the funding of the said scheme has now been modified and that 100% funding is now borne by the Union of India, the issue raised in these special leave petitions no longer survives for consideration by this court.”
The controversy began after the Centre in 2008 floated a scholarship scheme for five religious minorities as part of the Prime Minister’s new 15-point programme.
As the Gujarat government did not implement the scheme, a Congress worker from Bhuj, Adam Chaki, filed a PIL in Gujarat high court seeking its roll-out. The state government opposed the scheme by terming it unconstitutional and argued that the Centre was seeking to discriminate against people on the basis of religion.
Two division benches differed in their opinions on the legality of the issue. A five-judge bench ruled in 2013 that the scheme did not violate any constitutional provisions.
The state government immediately challenged the high court’s order in the apex court. Its challenge was mainly based on the argument that it violates constitutional provisions that the state should not favour or discriminate against any individual on the basis of his/her religion.
Now, six years later, the Centre made changes in the scholarship scheme and decided to fund 100% of the expenditure. With this, the Gujarat government rested its case.

Article Source link