What is a summary of D.A.V. College vs State of Punjab and Javed & Ors vs State of Haryana?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Both of the cases you are asking about have to do with the rights of minority groups in India.  The DAV College case touches on the rights of minority groups to the use of their own languages in schools and it rests upon the definition of what a minority is.  The Javed case has to do with freedom of religion.

In DAV, the major question was whether Hindus in the State of Punjab could be construed as a minority group under Article 29 of the Constitution.  That article guarantees that “every section of citizens” living anywhere in India who have their own distinct language has a right to conserve that language (or script or culture).  The question in this case was whether Hindus, being a majority in the country as a whole, can be construed as a minority in the State of Punjab.  The Court ruled that they could be and that, therefore, DAV College could not be forced to obey a state law saying that instruction for certain courses had to be carried out in Punjabi in the Gurumukhi script.

In Javed the question is whether the government can proscribe certain practices of a religious group.  In this instance, the practice is polygamy.  The state law in this case prevented people from holding various offices if they had more than two living children.  This would make it harder for Muslims, who are allowed up to four wives by their religion, to practice polygamy while still enjoying their right to serve in public office.  The Court ruled that only integral aspects of a religion are protected by Article 25.  It said that polygamy is not an integral part of Islam.  It ruled that religious freedom is subject to regulation on the basis of public order, morality, and health.  If the government wishes to regulate a religious practice, like polygamy, that is not integral to the religion, it may do so.

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