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Whether Without Certification From NCMEI, Educational Institution Can Claim Minority Status?: SC To Consider [Read Order]

Mehal Jain
17 Oct 2020 8:02 AM GMT
Whether Without Certification From NCMEI, Educational Institution Can Claim Minority Status?: SC To Consider [Read Order]
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The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice on the challenge to the February judgment of the Kerala High Court which held that certification from the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions is not a requirement to treat an institution as a minority institution.

After hearing Senior Advocate V Chithambaresh bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi also directed the parties to maintain status quo.
In the impugned judgment delivered on February 19 this year, a division bench of the High Court sitting in appeal, had appreciated that 'minority' means a minority group in the country and Christians are also considered to be a minority group. When members of Christian community establish an educational institution, it becomes a minority educational institution. "S.10 of the 2004 NCMEI Act apparently insists for grant of 'no-objection certificate' to enable any person who desires to establish a minority educational institution, in which event the competent authority shall consider the same and pass appropriate orders. If the competent authority does not grant such a certificate within ninety days from the receipt of the application, it shall be deemed that the competent authority has granted a no objection certificate to the applicant. Sub section (4) of S.10 states that if the no objection certificate is granted or it is deemed to have been granted, the person shall be entitled to commence and proceed with the establishment of a Minority Educational Institution in accordance with the rules and regulations", noted the bench.

The High Court had observed that the functions of the Commission are specified u/s 11. S.11(f) of 2004 Act reads as under: (f) decide all questions relating to the status of any institution as a Minority Educational Institution and declare its status as such.

"When the statute enables the competent authority to decide on all questions relating to the status of any institution as a minority institution and to declare its status, the Apex Court has held that the declaration of status emanates from the date when it was established. There is no mandate that all the minority institutions should approach the competent authority and should get its status declared. Only when a question arises as to whether the institution is a minority institution or not, the Management is required to approach the competent authority for a declaration of status", ruled the bench.

The High Court had noted that the appellant before it had filed an application before NCMEI and it was pending consideration. When a declaration is granted in terms of S.11(f), it will relate back to the date of establishment of the institution, it said.

"Such being the position, when the Government by Exts.P6, P7 and P8 orders had already found in the said proceedings that the educational institution is a minority institution entitled for protection of Art.30(1), it cannot take a different stand after the coming into force of the Act. Section 10 apparently is with reference to grant of no objection certificate for establishing a minority educational institution and Section 11(f) is to declare the status in the event of any dispute", reflected the bench.

The bench had expressed the view when the Government had already considered and approved that the petitioner is a minority educational institution, even after the promulgation of 2004 Act, it is not open for the Government to take a different stand. "Of course, as far as private parties are concerned, they could as well contend that it is not a minority institution. But the finding of the Government that in the absence of a certification from the NCMEI, the institution cannot be recognized as a minority institution is devoid of any merit", said the bench.

It was also brought to the notice of the division bench of the High Court that the institution had already submitted an application to the NCMEI for declaring its status. "Once the status is declared, necessarily it relates back to the date of establishment of the institution. In the said circumstances, when the Government had already given the benefit of Art.30(1) to the aforesaid institution on earlier occasions, it is not proper to deny the said status until a different situation arises in the matter", the Court had held.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]



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