Minority Matters

Delhi High Court recalls order admitting Centre’s affidavit opposing Jamia Millia’s minority status

The bench said it had erroneously not taken into account that there were other affected parties in the matter.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday recalled its March 13 order in a case related to the minority status of Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. The court said that in the order, which had taken on record the Centre’s affidavit on the matter saying the university was not a minority institute, it had erroneously not taken into account that there were other parties in the case who could have been affected by the proceedings, PTI reported.

In its affidavit, the Centre had opposed an order of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, which had declared Jamia Millia Islamia a religious minority institution. The Delhi High Court, in its March 13 order, had taken this affidavit on record and also struck down a 2011 affidavit of the former United Progressive Alliance government, which had supported the minority status.

In 2011, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions 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 institute. The commission had said the university was covered under “Article 30 (1), read with Section 2 (G) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act”. However, the Centre had argued that a university incorporated under an act of Parliament cannot claim minority status.

On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court allowed a petition by the vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, its registrar and the teachers’ association claiming that the current government has not established any basis to replace the 2011 affidavit of the UPA administration. The petitioners said they had not received the Centre’s affidavit and had not been heard before the matter was disposed of either.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said they would hear all affected parties before passing an order in the matter.

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