50% quota in ‘minority’ Jamia Millia

via PNS | New Delhi published on February 22, 2011

The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) made a controversial move on Tuesday in granting Jamia Milia Islamia the status of a minority institution. The decision is bound to ripple out and trigger similar demands from different quarters.

The status, the first of any kind to be given to any Central university, will allow Jamia Milia the right to reserve up to 50 per cent seats for Muslims.

“We have no hesitation in holding that Jamia was founded by Muslims for the benefit of Muslims and it never lost its identity as a Muslim minority educational institution,” said commission chairman Justice MSA Siddiqui, in his judgement.

The institution was made a Central University by an Act of Parliament in 1988. Jamia would continue to enjoy the Central status and be the only “minority Central institute” in the country with such a unique character, according to Siddiqui.

The institute was founded even before the Constitution was in place, the judgement noted. “We find and hold that Jamia Milia Islamia is a minority educational institution covered under Article 30(1) of the Constitution of India with Section 2(G) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act,” it added.

In the wake of the ruling, “No other reservation would be binding on the university,” said counsel for the petitioners Tarique Siddiqui, citing Article 15(5) of the Constitution. The institution would thus no longer have to give reservation to SC/ST students.

Jamia was established for the purpose of keeping Muslim education in Muslim hands, entirely free of external control. Thus, the Muslim community brought Jamia into existence in the only manner in which a university could be brought into existence, according to the judgement.

NCMEI was originally not empowered take such a decision as its Act stated that a minority educational institution meant a college or institution (other than a university) established or maintained by a person or group of persons from among the minorities. Subsequently, the Government brought out an amendment in May 2010 to the NCMEI Act, allowing the statutory body to award minority status to universities too.

Siddiqui said the case had been decided within legal parameters. The judgement came in the wake of petitions filed by Jamia Students Union, Jamia Old Boys Association and Jamia Teachers Association in 2006, seeking minority status.

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