SC restricts linguistic minorities operating trust in other states

SC restricts linguistic minorities operating trust in other states

A member of a linguistic non-minority in one state cannot establish a trust or society in another state and claim minority status, the Supreme Court has held.

A Bench of Justices S S Nijjar and M Y Iqbal said there could not be any controversy that minorities in the country had a right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice but the right guaranteed under Article 30 of the Constitution was not an absolute one.

“Though Article 30 itself does not lay down any limitation upon the right of a minority to administer its educational institution, this right is not absolute. This is subject to reasonable regulations for the benefit of the institution. The state government and universities can issue directions from time to time for the maintenance of the standard and excellence of such institution which is necessary in the national interest,” the Bench said.

The court dismissed a petition filed by DAV (Dayanand Anglo Vedic) College Trust and Management Society, first started in 1885 in Lahore, claiming Hindi-promoting minority status in Maharashtra, against a Bombay High Court judgment.

In February 2010, the high court had declined to interfere with the Maharashtra government’s decision withdrawing recognition granted to the society on the basis of Hindi-promoting linguistic minority after finding that society members were residing in New Delhi.

Protection plea rejected

“In the instant case, the appellant trust / society is registered in New Delhi. A majority of the trustees reside at New Delhi and, therefore, these persons cannot be treated as minority in the state of Maharashtra and they cannot claim the protection of linguistic minority in the state of Maharashtra,” the Bench said.

The state government had rejected a request made by trust in 2008 that the recognition certificate granted in the name of its society at Solapur should be in the name of its New Delhi chapter on the ground that only those Hindi-speaking persons who were residing in Maharashtra would be treated as minority there.

“We have no hesitation in holding that in order to claim minority/linguistic status for an institution in any state, the authorities must be satisfied firstly that the institution has been established by the persons who are minority in such state; and, secondly, the right of administration of the said minority linguistic institution is also vested in those persons who are minority in such state,” the bench added.

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