Published: 29th March 2023
EWS 10% reservation plea: Delhi HC seeks stand of Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia
The court directed the petition to be listed for future hearing on April 18 when another matter concerning the minority status of Jamia is also coming up for consideration
On Wednesday, March 29, the Delhi High Court sought the stand of the Centre and Jamia Millia Islamia on a plea seeking directions to ensure 10 per cent reservation for students from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). In this regard, a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notice to Jamia, Ministry of Education and University Grants Commission (UGC) on the public interest litigation filed by law student Akanksha Goswami, as stated in a report by PTI.
Goswami in her plea said that the university ought to reserve seats for EWS category students at the time of admission from the academic year 2023-2024 in terms of the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 which provides for 10 per cent reservation for them in higher education and government jobs.
Lawyer Pritish Sabharwal who appeared for Jamia said it is a minority institution which has certain privileges under the law. However, Senior advocate Arun Bhardwaj, representing the petitioner, contended that Jamia should be directed to implement the EWS reservation as it was a central university which received aid from the UGC.
What did the court say?
The court directed the petition to be listed for future hearings on April 18 when another matter concerning the minority status of Jamia is also coming up for consideration. Additionally, the petitioner also represented by lawyers Akash Vajpai and Ayush Saxena, said Jamia Millia Islamia was established by an act of Parliament and is thus a central university and not a minority one.
What was in the plea?
The plea asserted that UGC has already written to the registrars of all the central universities, including Jamia, to implement the reservation for EWS students.
"Respondent No. 2 (UGC) through its letter dated 18.01.2019 requested all Vice-chancellors of the central universities including Respondent No.1 to implement 10 % EWS reservation at the time of admission in their different courses from the academic year 2019-2020.
Respondent No.1/ Jamia Millia Islamia issued a press/release on 05.02.2019 through which it refused to implement 10% EWS reservation citing its status as a minority institution under article 30 of the Constitution of India," the plea said.
Besides the reservation, the petitioner has also prayed for setting aside an order passed by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, which had declared Jamia as a minority institution. In this regard, the petition stated that Jamia is neither established nor administered by the minority community as it is established by the Act of Parliament and is also funded by the Government of India, as stated in a report by PTI.
Further, it said there is no provision in the Jamia Millia Islamia Act 1988 to allow the selection of only persons from the Muslim community as members to its executive and academic council and treating a central university as a minority educational institution is repugnant to law. "Respondent no 1 (Jamia) after it incorporated and established through the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988 became another central university in the country like Banaras Hindu University and Allahabad University," the plea said.