The Delhi High Court, in its September 1 judgment, has ruled that minority institutions on public land are no longer bound to admit EWS students from non-minority category.
The bench has followed a Supreme Court judgment issued in May that stated that the minority stature of an institution cannot be changed by the government or by amending the Constitution.
The move is expected to benefit around 30-odd minority schools in the capital.
Several minority schools had approached the High Court earlier this year against the nursery admission guidelines, which had prescribed mandatory reservation of 20 per cent for EWS and DG students in all schools.
“As the Constitution bench has held that even after amending the Constitution, the state cannot abrogate the rights of other minorities to establish and administer schools of their choice… then the government certainly cannot appropriate the right to nominate non-minority EWS students to a minority school…,” the judgment pronounced by Justice Manmohan states.
The move has been widely welcomed by minority schools situated on public land. “It goes to show that in the eyes of the court, constitutional law is above contractual law. We are very pleased with the decision as it has given us complete freedom to administer our schools with full autonomy,” V K Williams, principal, Mount Carmel School, said.
But the decision is likely to be challenged. “Minority schools are under obligation to admit 20 per cent EWS students as per their contracts and that obligation cannot be diluted as it is in public interest. Why can’t they admit EWS students from their own community? We will challenge the decision in court,” Khagesh Jha, an advocate and social jurist, said.
During the pendency of these cases, the government had also stated that minority institutions were “free to admit disadvantaged students belonging to their respective minority communities,” so that the EWS rule would not “interfere with the administration” of minority schools.
The Supreme Court, in its May 2014 judgment, had stated that the “minority character of an aided or unaided minority institution cannot be annihilated by admitting students from communities other than the minority community…”