New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill which aims to give the quasi-judicial National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) a free hand to decide the status of schools, colleges and universities seeking minority status.
The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (Amendment) Bill, 2009, intends to do away with a requirement for NCMEI to consult states before deciding on the minority status of educational institutions. It also brings universities under the ambit of the commission.
Universities, until now, did not fall under the commission’s jurisdiction.
Status-conscious? A file photo of the Aligarh Muslim University, which has long demanded a minority status. DK Sharma / HT
NCMEI, formed in 2004 by the ministry of human resource development, settles disputes relating to the minority status of educational institutions, grants minority status to them and also advises Central and state governments on matters relating to the education of minority communities.
Under the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act, 2004, an institution must be established and run by a religious minority—Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians—to qualify as a minority institution.
The amendment Bill was drafted after NCMEI received complaints from educational institutions that some state governments were not granting them no-objection certificates, a requirement before such institutions can apply to NCMEI for minority status.
Including universities under the ambit of NCMEI also brings back the debate over the long-pending demand of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University in New Delhi for minority status.
A case to this effect filed by the Jamia Teachers’ Union and the university’s alumni body, the Old Boys’ Association in 2006, is still pending before NCMEI. JMI had argued in its petition that being a university, it did not fall under the jurisdiction of the commission. A similar case on whether Aligarh Muslim University is a minority institution is still pending before the Supreme Court.
The Bill will now go to the Rajya Sabha.