Jamia to continue with its minority status: High Court

Students wishing to take admission in Jamia Millia Islamia for this academic session face an uncertain future with the Delhi High Court Wednesday refusing to grant a stay on an amendment conferring it minority status.


The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) headed by Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui had recently granted ‘minority’ status to the university which will enable it to reserve up to 50 percent seats for Muslim students.


A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna Wednesday also made it clear that those students who get admission under the new reservation policy will have to wait for the final outcome of the court order.


The court will further hear the matter on July 14.


The bench was hearing the batch of public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the grant of minority status to Jamia Millia Islamia university.


Prashant Bhushan in his petition said: ‘The admission policy of the university as approved in the academic council meeting held on March 29, does not have any provision for reservation for the SC, ST and OBC candidates, instead there is provision for total 50 percent reservation for Muslim candidates.’


‘It is pertinent to mention that reservation for SC, ST and OBC candidates is a constitutional provision which all central universities have to follow,’ said Bhushan.


Another petitioner, Vijay Kumar Sharma, president of NGO Yuva Bharti Samiti, alleged that ‘the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988, incorporates and establishes the university and dissolves the Jamia Millia Islamia Society, which was managing and running it, and the NCMEI has no jurisdiction or authority to declare it a minority institution.’


Recalling the circumstances when the university was founded, the PIL claims Jamia was always envisioned as a secular national university and ‘it’s a travesty that it has been declared a minority institution’.


‘The university is a central university of national importance and is an alloy of secular Indian culture where members of all caste, creed and religions have been benefited and cannot be conferred with the status of minority institution,’ the petition, filed by advocates Rakesh Kumar on behalf of Sharma, said.


The varsity will no longer have to give reservation to SC and ST students also, the panel, a quasi-judicial body, had said while allowing the petitions of students union, Jamia Old Boys Association and Jamia Teachers Association. These petitions were filed in 2006.


Earlier, the NCMEI had said Jamia would continue to enjoy the central university status and the only ‘minority central university’ in the country, given its unique character.


The Delhi High court has also issued notice to Union of India, Jamia Milia Islamia University, NCMEI and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes seeking their reply by July 14.


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