Allahabad High Court Dismisses Plea Against SIT Probe Into ‘Fake’ Madrasas, Upholds State’s Power Under UP Board Of Madrasa Education Act


The Allahabad High Court has upheld the SIT probe into several Madrasas at Azamgarh based on powers accorded to the State Government under the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madrasa Education Act, 2004.

The Court held that under Section 13 of the Act, 2004, the State was empowered to take immediate action consistent with the Act without reference to the Board in certain circumstances. It was within the statutory powers of the State to call upon the Head of Madrasas or its officials to produce documents for verification at any time, it said. In such cases where the statute empowers the State to carry out inspection, Court held, “the principles of natural justice may be diluted”.

Justice Kshitij Shailendra observed that:

Whether the exercise of a power conferred should or should not be made in accordance with any of the principles of natural justice depends upon the express words of the provision conferring the power, the nature of the power conferred, the purpose for which it is conferred and the effect of the exercise of that power.”

Factual Background:

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted to examine various complaints against Madrasas. The report of the SIT was placed before a committee headed by the Chief Secretary of the State. Proceedings of said meeting disclosed various actions proposed to be taken against various Madrasas including the petitioner-Madrasa, including lodging of F.I.R. against Madrasa office bearers under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468 and 471 I.P.C.

The petitioner-Madrasas claimed that they were never provided any opportunity either to participate in the investigation conducted by the S.I.T. or before passing of the Resolution by the Committee headed by the Chief Secretary. The entire proceedings were alleged to be in violation of principles of natural justice and Article 14 of the Constitution of India. It was also contended that no action was warranted against the petitioner-Madrasa on account of its closure in 2017.

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Counsel for the State submitted that inquiry was conducted in about 313 Madrasas and during preliminary enquiry various unwarranted activities and anomalies were found. It was further submitted that the petitioners participated in the enquiry proceedings but the Manager did not provide relevant records. Nor were details found uploaded during the course of portal examination and spot inspection. Overall, situation revealed that the Madrasa was non-existent.

Reliance was placed on Section 13 of the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madrasa Education Act, 2004 to show that State Government has power to take impugned actions. Objection regarding maintainability of the writ petition due to being premature was also raised as recognition to the petitioner-Madrasa was not withdrawn, nor were criminal proceedings initiated against the same. Further, it was contended that the report of S.I.T. cannot be quashed in writ jurisdiction.

High Court Verdict:

The Court observed that mere closure, temporary or permanent, of a Madrasa does not take away recognition granted to it by the Board.

Citing Sections 10(2)(iv) and 10(2)(v) of the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madrasa Education Act, 2004, the Court observed that the Board has power to grant or refuse recognition and to withdraw the same. Under the Act, 2004, the Board is empowered to call for reports from Heads of the Institutions, make requisite inspections and take suitable actions for enforcement of Rules, Regulations, decisions, instructions or directions of the Board. Regarding Section 13 of the Act, Justice Shailendra observed that the State Government is empowered to issue direction to the Board with respect to any matter on its own accord or on a reference made by the Board on a particular subject.

“In view of the above, neither the Board nor the State Government is powerless or functionless, in case, any illegality, irregularity, flaw, mischief, misrepresentation etc. comes to their knowledge by any means whatsoever, which may infer that either recognition was wrongfully granted to any Madarsa or, even if rightly granted, the conditions of recognition are being violated or it is not fit, either in the opinion of the Board or the State Government, that the recognition should continue for an indefinite period of time,” held the Court.

The Court relied on the case of UOI v. J.N. Sinha and another, wherein the Supreme Court observed that if a statutory provision either specifically or by necessary implication excludes the application of principles of natural justice then the Court cannot ignore the mandate of the legislature or the statutory authority and read into the concerned provision the principles of natural justice.

The Court held that in light of Sections 10 and 13 of the Act, the Board and the State Government are empowered to take action by calling upon heads of institutions to appear in person or produce documents. Such action of the State in calling upon the Head of Madrasas will not be in violation of principles of natural justice. Thus, the Court held that the State had power to establish Special Investigation Team for probe into alleged ‘fake’ Madrasas.

Further, regarding the power of the State under Section 13 of the Act, 2004, the Court elaborated that:

it is necessary or expedient to take immediate action, it may without making any reference to the Board under the foregoing provisions, pass such order or take such other action consistent with this Act as it deems necessary and, in particular, may by such order, modify or rescind or make any regulation in respect of any matter and shall forthwith inform the Board accordingly. Hence, if the State Government constituted a Special Investigation Team to carry out inspection and it carried investigation, either through spot inspection or through Portal information uploaded by the Board or by both modes, action or steps taken by it cannot be said to be unjustified in totality of facts and circumstances of the case, as elaborately discussed.”

Accordingly, the writ petitions were dismissed holding that the Section 10(2)(vi) of the Act, 2004 provides ample opportunity to the heads of such institutions to raise grievances before the competent authority.

Appearances: Shri Anoop Trivedi, learned Senior Advocate assisted by Shri Ami Tandon, and Shri Ashok Khare, learned Senior Counsel assisted by Shri Rajendra Kumar Yadav on behalf of petitioners and Shri Manish Goyal, learned Additional Advocate General alongwith Shri I.P. Srivastava, learned Additional Chief Standing Counsel on behalf of the State- respondents.

Case Title: Anjuman Siddiquia Jamia Noorul Oloom And 4 Others v. State Of U.P. And 5 Others, & C/M Madarasa Islamiya And 12 Others v. State Of U.P. And 5 Others

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