The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre on a petition seeking quashing of the controversial order of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institution conferring minority status to Jamia Milia Islamia university.
The February 22, 2011 order empowered the university to do away with all existing quota policies for the SC/ST and OBC candidates and reserve 50% of the seats for Muslim students in all its programmes.
Centre's lawyer Jatan Singh, who accepted notices for the human resources development and minority affairs ministries, has been asked to file responses by May 18. Notices were also issued to Jamia university vice-chancellor.
Petitioner Vijay Kumar Sharma argued that the commission's order was "contrary to law and violative of provisions of the Jamia Milia Islamia Act".
However, chief justice Dipak Misra and justice Sanjiv Khanna refused to stay the commission order though petitioner's lawyer Rakesh Kumar vehemently argued that it would effect admissions for various courses commencing July this year.
"Commission order will mean, a large number of students belonging to non-Muslim community will be deprived of their right to seek admission in the university. Such a reservation cannot be allowed in a central university managed and funded by the state," said Kumar.
The petition contended that the commission had no jurisdiction or authority to declare Jamia as a minority institution when the Act does not provide for the same. It accused the commission of encroaching on the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and high courts, which are the only authorities to interpret the provisions of the legislation.
The petition said the Jamia Act does not provide for any special consideration for any person belonging to a particular community. "Jamia university has been the epitome of secularism. Conferring minority status to such institution which has been memoirs of freedom struggle and the secular mission of the nation is wrong and illegal," the petition added.