Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Green light for minority status to Jamia Millia

Wed Feb 23 2011, New Delhi:

Clearing the decks for grant of minority status to the Jamia Millia Islamia, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) on Tuesday ruled that the Central university was a minority institution founded by Muslims for the benefit of Muslims.

"On a conjoint reading of Sections 2(o) and 4 of the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988, along with the history of facts and events which led to the establishment of the Jamia, we have no hesitation in holding that it was founded by the Muslims and it never lost its identity as a Muslim minority educational institution," stated a three-member commission led by Justice M S A Siddiqui.

Jamia will be the first Central university to be granted minority status. It will no longer have to give reservation to SC and ST students.

Welcoming the verdict, Jamia Vice-Chancellor Najeeb Jung told Newsline that the minority status will put greater onus on the institution to preserve its secular character. "Ours has always been a secular institution in spirit, ever since it was established in 1920... We have been a robust nationalist institution and will continue to do so," he said.

The commission was hearing a petition by Jamia Teachers' Association that it is a minority education institution covered under Article 30(1) of the Constitution. The Jamia Students' Union and Jamia Old Boys Association have filed similar petitions.

The petitioners contended that Jamia was founded in October 1920 by national leaders Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Hakim Ajmal Khan as they wanted Muslims to keep education in their own hands, free from governmental interference. It was set up for empowering Muslims through education and since then has been administered by the Muslim community, they argued.

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