Published: 06th October 2022
Will minority status of an educational institution's administration give it special status? SC to examine
Notices were issued to the UP gov't, National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, NMC and others, seeking their replies
The Supreme Court has agreed to examine whether an educational institution administered by members of a minority community would result in it being conferred the status of a minority institution. In this context, a Bench of justices BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government, National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, National Medical Commission and others, while seeking their replies, as stated in a report by PTI.
This decision was taken when the apex court was hearing an appeal filed by Mahayana Theravada Vajrayana Buddhist Religious and Charitable Trust, challenging the Allahabad High Court order. The high court was dealing with the petition against the Uttar Pradesh government order, where the state government refused to treat the institution as a minority institution. Further, the high court stated that, "For an institution to qualify as a minority institution within the meaning of Uttar Pradesh Private Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Free) Act, 2006, it should be an institution not only being administered by a minority but it also ought to have been established by the minority and it should also be notified by the State as such."
In 2001, the petitioner trust established a medical college and, later in 2015, the trust members converted to Buddhism, continuing to run the administration of the institute. Moreover, the high court said that it does not find any illegality in the state government's decision not to treat the educational institution of the trust as a minority institution so as to exclude it from the purview of the 2006 Act.
"Accordingly, we also do not see any illegality in the orders of October 5, 2010, and October 7, 2010, whereby the Director General, Medical Education and Training, had sought the proposal from the trust's educational institution for the purposes of fixation of fees to be charged from the students pursuing their MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2020-21," the high court held. Adding to this, the high court also did not find any illegality in the order of the state government on November 6, 2022, passed by the Department of Medical Education, whereby the fee to be charged from the students of the trust's educational institution was fixed.
The high court said, "Establishing an institution and administering it are two different happenings. If a society or a trust did not comprise members of any minority community (either linguistic or religious) at the time when it established an educational institution and subsequently attains the status of a minority and starts administering such an institution, in our considered opinion, in such a situation the educational institution concerned will neither be a minority institution within the Act, 2006 nor shall it be minority educational institution within the Act, 2004."