The Centre has filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court opposing the order of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions that had declared Jamia Millia Islamia a religious minority institution, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
The Human Resources Development Ministry under the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had submitted an affidavit in 2011 agreeing with the commission’s declaration.
The fresh affidavit, dated March 5, said Jamia Millia Islamia is not a minority institution as it was set up by an Act of Parliament and funded by the central government. The Centre said the previous affidavit had not taken note of the Azeez Basha versus Union of India case of 1968 in which the Supreme Court had said that a university incorporated under the Act of Parliament cannot claim minority status.
“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,” The Indian Express reported, quoting from the affidavit. “By no stretch of imagination, Article 30(1) could be read to mean that even if an education institution has been established by a Central Act, still the minority has the right to administer it.”
In 2011, the commission for institution had said that Jamia Millia Islamia was founded by Muslims for the benefit of the community and it never lost its identity as a Muslim minority educational institution. The commission said the institution was covered under “Article 30 (1), read with Section 2 (g) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act”.