September 26, 2019 3:17:05 am
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that “the right of minority institutions is not absolute, and is amenable to regulation”.
“The protection granted to minority educational institutions to admit students of their choice is subject to reasonable restrictions,” said a bench of Justices Indu Malhotra and Sanjiv Khanna, upholding rules framed by the Andhra Pradesh government making SSC/Transfer Certificate the basis for a candidate’s claim of minority status for admission to BEd courses and requiring minority institutions to allot vacant seats under management quota to non-minority students on merit.
The petitioners claimed the rules were violative of rights of minority educational institutions under Article 30(1) of the Constitution.
The apex court, however, said “the criteria has been prescribed only for the purpose of determining the minority status of the candidates for admission to the B. Ed Course. This would not amount to a restriction, or impose any fetters in the matter of an individual’s choice of religion”.
The judgment noted that statistical data had been placed before before Andhra Pradesh High Court that baptism certificates were being obtained by students from other communities to obtain admission under the management quota. The state’s affidavit before the High Court said “a large number of admissions were made on the basis of conversion certificates” and that “in most of these cases, the candidates declared themselves to be Christians subsequent to the date of submitting their applications for the Entrance Test”. It was to check this misuse that the rule was framed, the state said.
Upholding this, the Supreme Court said “it safeguards the interest of genuine minority students, so that their seats are not taken away by those who resort to false conversions overnight…”.
The court said the rule requiring minority institutions to allot unfilled seats to non-minorities was brought following “statistical data which showed that the number of colleges, and the seats available for minorities, were highly disproportionate, and far in excess of the population as per the 2001 Census.”
The court said this “does not, in any manner, interfere with the right of a Minority Educational Institution to manage its affairs for the benefit of the Minority Community”.
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