The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has written to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories and directed them to conduct a detailed inquiry of all recognized madrasas admitting non-Muslim children.
The NCPCR also recommended the Chief Secretaries to admit all non-Muslim students in the said Madrasas to formal schools subsequent to the inquiry besides the mapping of all unmapped madrasas.
The letter undersigned by Chairperson-NCPCR Priyank Kanoongo on Thursday said based on various complaints received, "...it is noted that children belonging to Non-Muslim community are attending Government funded/ Recognised Madrasas."
Madrasas, as institutions, are primarily responsible for imparting religious education to children. They are of three types "Recognised Madrasas", "Unrecognised Madrasas" and "Unmapped Madrasas".
The Commissions letter said: "However, it is also learnt that those Madrasas which are funded by the Government or recognised by the Government are imparting both religious and to some extent formal education to children,"
"Further, it is also learnt by the Commission that some State/UT Government/s are providing them with scholarships too.
"This is a clear-cut violation and contravention of Article 28(3) of the Constitution of India which prohibits educational institutions from obligating children to take part in any religious instruction, without the consent of parent.
"It is pertinent to mention that the Constitution of India makes it an obligation of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children without any discrimination or prejudice and ensure that children go to neighborhood schools for availing formal education as per Section 6 of the RTE Act, 2009."
The statutory body constituted under a Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, aimed at protecting child rights, said: "Conduct a detailed inquiry of all Government Funded/Recognized Madrasas who are admitting Non- Muslim children in your State/UT.
"The inquiry should include physical verification of children attending such Madrasas.
"Subsequent to the inquiry, admit all such children in schools for availing formal education.
It also ordered undertaking of "Mapping of all Unmapped Madrasas in your State/UT and admit any/all children into Schools for availing formal education with immediate effect."
The Action Taken Report by the states and UTs were to be shared with the Commission within 30 days from December 8, 2022.
The NCPCR letter referred to the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 wherein Article 21- A, mentions providing of free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine.
"Consequent to the 86th Amendment in Constitution of India, for implementation of the "Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education for children in the age group of 6 to 14 years, the RTE, Act was passed by the Parliament of India in August 2009. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has been mandated to monitor the provisions and entitlements contained in the RTE Act, 2009," it added.