Government backs decision on minority status to Jamia


New Delhi : The central government Monday backed the grant of minority status to the Jamia Millia Islamia by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) – a decision currently under the Delhi High Court’s scrutiny.

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A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, hearing the arguments on a bunch of petitions, fixed the matter for hearing on Sep 27.

Counsel for central government said that it has supported the NCMEI decision.

Admitting a public interest litigation (PIL) of Vijay Kumar Sharma, president of NGO Yuva Bharti Samiti, the division bench issued notice to the central government, the NCMEI, the university and others, seeking their response.

Challenging the Feb 22 order of the commission, the petition filed through advocate Rakesh Kumar stated: “The Jamia Millia Islamia Act incorporates and establishes the university and dissolves the Jamia Millia Islamia Society, which was managing and running it, and the commission has no jurisdiction or authority to declare it a minority institution.”

“The act does not provide any special consideration for a person belonging to a particular community and the posts of the chief policy-making body (Anjuman)… are open to persons of all castes, creed and religions with no special consideration to Muslims…”

The PIL added that granting of minority status defeated the purpose of the law, enacted by parliament.

The NCMEI, headed by Justice (retd) M.S.A. Siddiqui, had recently granted minority status to the university, enabling it to reserve up to 50 per cent seats for Muslim students and allowing it not to reserve seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes students.

The panel, a quasi-judicial body, had passed the order while allowing the petitions of the Jamia Old Boys Association and the Jamia Teachers Association. The petitions were filed in 2006.