DAV College v. State Of Punjab

Name of the CaseDAV College v. State Of Punjab
Judgment Date and YearMay 5, 1971
AppellantDAV College
RespondentState Of Punjab
Acts involvedGurunanak University Act, 1969; Indian Constitution.
Sections/Articles involvedSection 4, section 4(1), section 4(2), and section 5 of the Gurunanak University Act. Article 19 (1) (c), 19 (1) (f), Article 14, Article 26, Article 29(1), Article 30 (1) of the Indian Constitution.
CourtSupreme Court of India
BenchReddy, P. Jaganmohan
Case CitationsAIR 1971 SC 1737; 1971 SCR 688

The word ‘minority’ is not defined in the Indian Constitution, so there is no perfect definition for the word ‘minority’. But the meaning of the word ‘minority’ is a group representing less than half of the whole population with a different language as well as a different culture. The word ‘minority’ is only mentioned in the Article 29 of the Indian constitution and states ‘minority’ as ‘any section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture’. In this article a case will be analyzed to know what the law says about the minority community. The case analysis will also assist the readers to get a brief knowledge about the rights of the people belonging to the minority community. 


As it is mentioned earlier that the word ‘minority’ is not defined anywhere in the Indian Constitution , however the word is only mentioned in two articles of the Indian Constitution and they are Article 29 and Article 30. The DAV College case is regarding the education among the students belonging to the minority community. The Dayanand Anglo Vedic College was formed in the memory of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who was the founder of the Arya Samaj. The Arya Samaj was founded on April 10, 1875 and this reform movement is completely based on modern Hinduism and it resist the idea of untouchability, child marriage, caste, worshipping idols, sacrificing animal, etc. It focused on the reliability of the Vedas and believes in one god. The institutions built under the DAV College Trust and Managing Society teaches the principles of the Arya Samaj as well as transmits the Vedic culture and religion. 

Facts of the case 

There were fourteen petitioners who filed the writ petition. Those petitioners were from different institutions which were managed and administered by the Dayanand Anglo Vedic College Trust and Managing Society. The petition was filed against some sections under the Gurunanak University Act, 1969; few of the special sections were section 4, section 4(1), section 4(2), and section 5. According to the petitioners those sections were violating Article 19 (1) (c), 19 (1) (f), Article 14, Article 26, Article 29(1), Article 30 (1) of the Indian Constitution. Also the provisions under the Gurunanak Act are unconstitutional and are not legally bound. 


The Dayanand Anglo Vedic College Trust and Managing Society manage and administer other institutions under the DAV College. These institutions were affiliated to the Punjab University (East Punjab Act 7 of 1947) before the Punjab Reorganization Act was passed. After the partition of India there were certain protests by the Sikhs in the State of Punjab because they wanted a separate state for themselves. Taking matters into consideration the State of Punjab and the State of Haryana were separated under the chairmanship of Shah. Then the Reorganization Act was passed by the parliament. Chandigarh, which is now a union territory, was made the capital of both the State of Punjab and the State of Haryana. On June 30, 1962 a notification was given to the Punjab University Act which specified the jurisdiction of the Punjab University within 10 miles and the petitioner’s institution didn’t come within the 10 miles. On May 13, 1969 another notification was issued as a subsection in section 5 of the Act which says that the University can exercise its power on the areas of four districts and they are: Patiala, Sangrur, Bhatinda and Rupar. This notification hugely affected the petitioner’s institutions, because due to this those institutions lost all the facilities of the University and ceased to be associated with the University.    


The major issues raised in this case are:

  • Whether the Hindus of the State of Punjab will be considered a minority community?
  • What determines a ‘religious or linguistic minority’?

Related Cases 

Rev. Father W. Proost & Others v.  State of Bihar & Others

In this case the petition was made to challenge the amendment of Section 48 (a) of the Bihar State University Act (Bihar, Bhagalpur and Ranchi), 1960 by the second Amendment Act, 1961 as the petitioners say that the amendment was beyond the legal power and authority of Article 29 and Article 30 of the Indian Constitution. The petition was filed by the Rector, principal, and few guardians of the students of St. Xavier’s College. The petition was filed under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. The St. Xavier’s college was established by the Catholics of Ranchi. The college was affiliated to University of Patna in 1944. The rules and regulations of the college were structured as a Christian Missionary to maintain a Catholic atmosphere in the College, also the management of the college was governed by 11 members. But all the students were allowed to take admission whether they are Catholic or non catholic. And hence it can be said that this institution was found by the minority community. So the court observed that: 

           “ It is obvious that a minority community can effectively conserve its language, Script or culture by or through educational institutions and, therefore, the right to establish and maintain educational institutions of its choice is a necessary concomitant to the right to conserve its distinctive language, script or culture and that is what is conferred on all minorities by Article 30.” 

Rev. Sidhajbhai Sabhai & others v. State of Bombay

The petitioners were the members of a society which aims to increase education primarily among the Christian community. The petitioners belong to the United Church of Northern India. Forty primary schools and a teacher’s training college were conducted under that society to conserve the culture of the Christian community. The teachers are trained in the college to maintain the Christian missionary environment in the schools, the maintenance cost for the schools and the training colleges are allocated by donations. The petitioners filed the petition because they were unable to comply with the orders given by the government regarding the seats for teachers in non government training colleges. An order was issued by the government that 80% of the seats for teacher’s training will be given to the candidates selected by the centre. According to the petitioners, these orders by the government violate the fundamental rights under articles 30 (1), 26 (a) (b) (c) and (d), 19 (1) (f) and (g) of the Indian Constitution. It was held in the court that Article 19 (1) (f) and (g) of the Indian Constitution were not violated but the order issued by the government did infringed the Article 30 (1) of the Indian Constitution.      


Article 29 (1) of the Indian Constitution says:

“Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.”

Article 30 (1) of the Indian Constitution says:

“All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institution of their choice.”

It is observed by the court that the concept of Article 29 (1) is broader than the concept of Article 30 (1). Article 29 (1) gives the right to any minority community all across the country but Article 30 (1) gives right only to the minorities based on religious or linguistic basis. The court also observed that these two articles cannot be read together as reading together will give rise to some different meaning. 

  To answer the second issue the court referred to the re-Kerala Education Bill, 1957 though there was nothing mentioned about how to consider a community as a minority community. But there was a slight attempt to portray the position of religious or linguistic minorities in relation to the entire population of the country. In the Kerala education bill case it was observed that the minorities should be determined by referring to the entire population of the state. It was admitted by the state of Punjab that the Hindus are the religious minority in the whole state but not in the whole country. “DAV College could not be forced to obey a state law saying that instructions for certain courses had to be carried out in Punjabi in Gurumukhi Script.” Also the sub section (3) of the Act does not go beyond the limits guaranteed under Article 29 (1) of the Indian Constitution.       


To maintain the ‘equality’ among the citizens of the country it is very essential to keep in mind the special rights given to the minorities. In a populated country like India it is essential to look after the equality to maintain unity and peace among the citizens. Despite several special rights given to the minority, the minority community faces a lot of struggle to compete with the majority. The Country should also focus on the economical minorities rather than the religious or linguistic minorities, and this will impose more equality among the citizens of the country and will also help in the economical growth in a developing country like India. 


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