Students and teachers of Burhani College at Mazgaon have alleged that the college management has arbitrarily decided to shut down the college and has refused to conduct admissions for the first year of degree and junior college on the grounds that the building needs urgent structural repairs.
The management has, however, maintained that the college, run by the Burhani Educational Society, is not shutting down. Admissions to first year have been stopped as repair work is needed to accommodate additional students in the building, as per the management. Over 4,000 students are presently studying in the degree and junior college. The management claims that they can barely manage to accommodate the existing students.
The Mumbai University (MU) has refused the management permission to shut down, on the grounds that it is one of the few minority institutions in south Mumbai and the management has not followed the procedure for shutting down the college.
Dr M A Khan, registrar, MU, said, “The management has no right to shut down the college as and when they want. They have to follow a procedure of taking permission from the state government and other authorities, and only after they get a go-ahead, they can shut down the college.”
Khan added that MU has called the principal of the college. “The university has asked the college management to start the admission for the Degree courses immediately, failing which the college could face severe action,” Khan said.
According to a senior teacher from Burhani College, in May, the management called a meeting of 14 ad hoc teachers and told them they should start looking for another job. “It came as a shock for everyone, as it is one of the few colleges that caters to the large Muslim population in south Mumbai. Most of our students come from economically weaker sections. For them, college is a place where they can express themselves,” said the teacher.
A former member of the management said, “There was a change in the management after the demise of the leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community. The new management must have taken the decision to shut down the college for reasons best known to them.”
One of the steps that the government can resort to is to take away the functioning of the college from the management if they do not abide by the rules.
When contacted Dawood Mandviwala, trustee and secretary of the Burhani Education Society, said that the management had sought permission from the varsity to stall admission.
“The building is 50 years old. The move by the management has been due to the fact that a portion of the college structure is sinking. We had also informed the joint director of higher and technical education, along with the university, about the problem. We do not own the building, but we told the landlord that we will repair it. Officials from our college met the registrar of MU and explained the situation to him,” said Mandviwala.
He further added that the suspension of the admission to the degree college and junior college was temporary, and once the repairs are carried out, the management would take a call on resuming the admissions again.
Teachers alleged that the move by the management is reminiscent of the arbitrary move by the management of MVLU and Chinai College at Andheri a few years ago. The management there, run by the Laxmi Education Trust, decided to shut down the college to use the land for commercial purpose in 2000. However later, when the government and education department intervened, the college had to start the admission process. The matter is pending in court.