Minority Status to Jamia: Delhi HC Issues Notice to Center

By Md. Ali, TwoCircles.net

New Delhi: In an important development related to the minority status of Jamia Millia Islamia, the Delhi High Court yesterday has issued notices to the Centre and other parties seeking their responses to a PIL.

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The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna admitted public interest litigation (PIL) of Vijay Kumar Sharma, president of NGO ‘Yuva Bharti Samiti’, challenging the recent declaration of the university a minority institution by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI).

Issuing notice to the Union Ministries of HRD and Minority Affairs, the court asked them to file their responses by May 18. Its important to mention here that the Ministry of HRD had opposed minority status to Jamia because it wanted the NCMEI to hold the matter and wait as another PIL challenging the minority status of AMU is pending in the Supreme Court.

The petitioner has argued that the university was established with the enactment of the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988 which in turn had dissolved the Jamia Millia Islamia Society which was administering the institution. It has pushed for the argument that the moment the Society, which was a minority run society, was dissolved; it negates the idea of a minority headed body running the institution.

It’s important to mention here that the NCMEI relied heavily on the logic of a minority society running and administering the institution at the time of it was turned into a central university in 1988.

The petitioner has also questioned the jurisdiction of the NCMEI in declaring JMI into a minority institution.

Without giving reservation to SC and ST students, Jamia, the “only minority central university”, has the right to reserve up to 50 per cent seats for Muslim students.