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Right Of Minority Educational Institutions Not Absolute; Are Amenable To Regulations, Says SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
25 Sep 2019 12:10 PM GMT
Right Of Minority Educational Institutions Not Absolute; Are Amenable To Regulations, Says SC [Read Judgment]
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"The protection granted to Minority Educational Institutions to admit students of their choice is subject to reasonable restrictions."
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While turning down the plea challenging certain G.O.Ms issued by Government of Andhra Pradesh, the Supreme Court observed that the right of minority institutions is not absolute, and is amenable to regulation and that the protection granted to Minority Educational Institutions to admit students of their choice is subject to reasonable restrictions.

The impugned GOMs stipulated that for the purpose of determining the minority status of candidates seeking admission into 85% management quota in the B.Ed., minority colleges, the Secondary School Certificates or Transfer Certificates (T.C.) from the school from which they have studied shall be the basis. Another GOM empowered, the Convenor, Ed. CET-AC Admissions to fill the left over seats of the unaided colleges in the presence of a Government nominee by following rule of reservation through counselling process, in case the seats in minority colleges are to be filled up with non-minority candidates..

The minority institutions challenged these regulations on the ground that is an intrusion on the right to administer the minority institutions conferred by Article 30(1) of the Constitution of India. The Government's defence was that the condition making the SSC Certificate as the basis for proving the minority status of the student, was imposed in light of the statistical data, which revealed that many students were converting over-night so as to obtain admission in the Management Quota of Minority Educational Institutions.

The bench comprising Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna noted that a large number of admissions were made on the basis of conversion certificates. Upholding the GOM, the bench said that

G.O.M. No. 57 dated 21.03.2005 making the SCC Certificate as the basis for determining the minority status of a student, in order to prevent misuse of Conversion Certificates by ineligible candidates, so as to ensure that only bona fide students were granted admission in the Management Quota of Minority Institutions.

G.O.M. No. 57 prescribed a uniform criteria for determination of the status of all minority students. It safeguards the interest of genuine minority students, so that their seats are not taken away by those who resort to false conversions over-night, for the purpose of securing admission. This would preserve the minority character of the Institution, rather than act as an intrusion of the same.

Upholding the validity of other GOM also, the bench observed:

With respect to G.O.M. No. 98, the requirement to fill up the vacant seats by non-minority candidates was based on statistical data which showed that the number of colleges, and the seats available for minorities, were highly disproportionate, and far in excess of the population as per the 2001 census. The distinct possibility of seats remaining unfilled in the Minority Institutions every year, would not be in the interest of the Minority Educational Institutions. With this object in mind, G.O.M. No. 98 was issued to ensure that the vacant seats in the 85% Management Quota did not remain unfilled during any academic year. The G.O.M. merely stipulated that if the said Quota remained unfilled by minority students, it would be filled from the merit list of successful candidates, as allotted by the Convenor, Ed. CET to promote excellence in education. By this process, an opportunity was granted to the CET qualified non-minority candidates to secure quality education, which would subserve the interest of the nation.
This G.O.M. does not, in any manner, interfere with the right of a Minority Educational Institution to manage its affairs for the benefit of the Minority Community. On the contrary, it ensures that vacant seats are not wasted, and are filled up by meritorious and deserving candidates

Dismissing the appeals, the bench observed that GOMs are not violative of Article 30(1) of the Constitution of India and that they do not whittle down the right of the minority institutions in any manner. It said:

The criteria has been prescribed only for the purpose of determining the minority status of the candidates for admission to the B. Ed. Course. This would not amount to a restriction, or impose any fetters in the matter of an individual's choice of religion. 

The right of minority institutions is not absolute, and is amenable to regulation. The protection granted to Minority Educational Institutions to admit students of their choice is subject to reasonable restrictions.

Click here to Read/Download Judgment


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