NEW DELHI: Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia university was Tuesday granted "minority institution" status by National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), giving the institution right to reserve up to 50 percent of its seats for Muslims, annulling all other reservations.
"We hold that the Jamia Millia Islamia is a minority education institution," ruled the three-member quasi-judicial body of the commission headed by Justice M.S.A. Siddiqi. The other two members of the body were Mohinder Singh and Cyriac Thomas.
Observing that the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) is a minority education institution founded by the Muslims for the benefit of community, the commission said there was no reason for not giving it a minority institution status.
"We have no hesitation in holding that the Jamia was founded by the Muslims for the benefit of Muslims and it never lost its character as a Muslim education institution," it said.
"Jamia was established with the purpose of keeping Muslim education in Muslim hands entirely free from external control. The history leads to one conclusion that JMI was established by Muslims, for Muslims, though non-Muslims could be admitted," the judgment observed.
The judgement has put to end the almost five-year-long case on a petition filed by Jamia Students Union, Jamia Old Boys Association and Jamia Teachers Association in 2006 contending the institution was a minority institution and not obliged to implement any other quota following the government decision to implement 27 percent reservation for other backward classes (OBSs) in the university.
The Confederation of Muslim Education Institutions of India was an intervening party while the vice chancellor of the university, the human resource development ministry and minority affairs ministry were the respondents.
"Government was trying to impose reservation on Jamia. Article 15 (5) of Indian constitution says that there cannot be any reservation in minority institutions. And Jamia is a minority institution as defined by the Article 30 which gives minorities right to establish minority institutions," Amber Qamaruddin, the lawyer representing the case on behalf of Confederation of Muslim Education Institutions of India, told IANS.
"It opens a way for establishing more minority institutions for Muslims without the fear that they may not be minority institution later. It will help in educating Muslims and bringing them in mainstream," Jamia Minority Status Co-ordination Committee convener Illyas Mallik said.