An Allahabad high court judgement declaring a key act governing madrasas illegal has left over 16,000 recognised and over 8,000 unrecognised madrasas staring at uncertainty.

By Omar Rashid

New Delhi: The Allahabad high court has declared the Uttar Pradesh Madrasa Act, 2004 – through which madrasas are governed in the state – as unconstitutional, ruling that it violates the principle of secularism. The possibility of madrasas closing down following the court’s judgment has left around 10,000 madrasa teachers and over 26 lakh madrasa students with an uncertain future, said those affected by the verdict.

The court directed the Adityanath-led state government to take “steps forthwith” for accommodating the large number of madrasa students in regular state-run schools at the primary, secondary and intermediate levels. Sufficient number of additional seats must be created and if required, sufficient number of new schools should also be established to accommodate these students, Justices Vivek Chaudhary and Subhash Vidyarthi directed the Adityanath government in a judgment dated March 22. Madrasa associations said they would challenge the HC decision in the Supreme Court, even as they wondered what would be the immediate impact of the ruling.

There are 16,513 recognised madrasas, out of which 560 are aided by the government, and over 8,400 unrecognised madrasas in UP.

Iftikhar Ahmed Javed, chairman, Uttar Pradesh Board of Madrasa Education, told The Wire the HC’s decision would impact over 26 lakh students – 19.5 lakh in recognised madrasas and seven lakh in unrecognised madrasas.

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