Education

Centre to Withdraw Support for Jamia Millia Islamia’s Minority Status

The HRD ministry will file an affidavit claiming that declaring the university a religious minority institution was an error.

Gates of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Credit: Wikimedia

Gates of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Credit: Wikimedia

New Delhi: Public central university Jamia Millia Islamia will no longer be a minority institution. The Centre is set to inform the court that it never intended for Jamia to be a minority institution and has decided to withdraw its earlier stand on the university’s minority status.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry will soon file an affidavit claiming that declaring the university a religious minority institution was an error as it was set up by an Act of parliament and is funded by the Centre, the Financial Express reported.

In its affidavit, the HRD ministry will state that its support for the February 2011 order by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) declaring Jamia a religious minority institution, was not in accordance with the law.

In January 2016, former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi had advised the HRD ministry, which was then under Smriti Irani, that it was entitled to change its view in court and revert to the stand that Jamia is not a minority institution and NCMEI’s ruling was not in accordance with the law.

The government will rely on the Supreme Court’s decision in the Azeez Basha case, in which it had declared that Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is not a minority institution as it was set up by the British legislature.

The BJP-led NDA government had earlier contended that no institution can have both a minority status and be a central university.

In pursuance of the 2011 NCMEI order, Jamia has already discontinued reservation for SC/ST and OBC students. It had reserved 50% seats in each course for Muslim candidates – 30% for general Muslim applicants, 10% for Muslim women applicants and 10% for Muslim OBCs and STs as notified under the Central government list, the Indian Express reported.

According to Section 2 (o) of the JMI Act, Jamia was established by Muslim nationalist leaders in 1920 at Aligarh in response to Mahatma Gandhi’s call to boycott all educational institutions supported or run by the colonial regime. It eventually shifted to Delhi and was run by a registered society called the Jamia Millia Islamia society. In 1962, Jamia became a deemed university. In 1988, it was deemed a central university through a central law.