SC, ST, OBC reservation doesn’t apply to minority institutions: SC

The court noted that Article 15(5) of the Constitution does not empower the state to compel a minority educational institution to admit students from SC/ST/OBC categories
Picture of Supreme Court | (Picture: Express)
Picture of Supreme Court | (Picture: Express)

The Madras High Court has ruled that the concept of reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and other Backward Classes (OBC) citizens would not apply to minority institutions, as reported by PTI.

The first bench comprising Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice PD Audikesavalu gave the ruling while partly allowing an appeal and a petition from Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College for Women (Autonomous) in Chennai, assailing a November 2021 order, rejecting the extension of religious minority status to the college.

The college had also sought a direction to issue the Permanent Religious Minority status certificate.

Though reservation was made applicable to the socially and educationally Backward Classes of citizens, the SCs and the STs for admission, from the educational institutions, the minority educational institutions were consciously excluded from the operation of Article 15(5) of the Constitution of India, the bench said.

“Allow extension of minority status”

Overruling the government order, which refused the extension of Religious (Muslim) Minority status to the petitioner institution, the court said in case the petitioner complies with all other requirements, then the authorities shall permit the college to function as a minority educational institution, unless the minority status was cancelled by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI).

"The Minority status is not a tenure status, ergo is not for a limited period," the bench added.

It further held that competent authority may adopt regulatory measures and supervisory measures, such as periodical calling for the list of members of the governing board of the college and the Memorandum and Bylaws, so as to monitor that the institution was manned by the members of the minority, added PTI.

The bench said the state government would be within its right to impose the threshold cap of admitting students from the minority community to 50 per cent.

However, in the remaining 50 per cent seats, filled on merit from the General Category, the students of the Minority Community can also compete and be admitted on merit and the same would not be counted in the 50 per cent threshold cap meant for the minorities, the bench added.

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