Jamia Millia Islamia to defend its minority status; oppose Modi govt's affidavit

Last Updated 26 March 2018, 15:10 IST

The Jamia Millia Islamia (JNI) University will oppose the Centre's affidavit before the Delhi High Court and defend its minority status.

The Narendra Modi government, earlier this month, had filed a revised affidavit in the High Court opposing the minority status accorded to JMI, reversing the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's stand on the issue before the court in 2011.

The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) had declared Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) as a religious minority institution in February 2011, enabling the central university to reserve up to 50% seats for Muslim students.

A bunch of petitions, subsequently, were filed against the NCMEI order in Delhi High Court by various parties.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry, under then minister Kapil Sibal, however, stood by the JMI and submitted an affidavit in the court in August 2011, stating that the government "respects the declaration made by the NCMEI."

Varsity vs govt

"HRD ministry has withdrawn its earlier (previous) affidavit and submitted a fresh affidavit opposing the minority character of the Jamia Millia Islamia before the Delhi High Court. JMI will file its objections to the revised affidavit in accordance with due process of law. It is a legal battle which will be hotly contested in the Court," the University said in a statement on Monday.

The ministry's U-turn in court came as a surprise to the University, the JMI added.

"Treating a central university as a minority education institution is repugnant to law, besides undermining its status and is against the basic tenet of a central university. By no stretch of the imagination, Article 30(1) could be read to mean that even if an educational institution has been established by a Central Act, still the minority has the right to administer it," the government submitted before the High Court in its revised affidavit on March 5.

(Published 26 March 2018, 14:36 IST)

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