The Supreme Court has justified the exclusion of minority educational institutions from the purview of Article 15(5) of the Constitution that enabled the State to bring in the law providing for reservation for OBCs in central educational institutions.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan that upheld the validity of the 93rd constitutional amendment and the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, rejected the anti-quota petitioners’ plea that it violated their right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution.
“This plea is…not tenable because the minority institutions have been given a separate treatment in view of Article 30 of the Constitution. Such classification has been held to be in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. “The exemption of minority educational institutions has been allowed to conform to Article 15(5) with the mandate of Article 30 of the Constitution,” the CJI said. Justice R V Raveendran agreed with him.
According to Article 30, all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
Rejecting the petitioners’ contention that exclusion of minority institutions violated Article 14, the court held: “exclusion of minority educational institutions from Article 15(5) is not violative of Article 14 of the constitution as the minority educational institutions, by themselves, are a separate class and their rights are protected by other constitutional provisions.”
Justice Dalveer Bhandari, who wrote a separate judgment, concurred with the CJI and Justice Raveendran on this point.
Terming it as a backward step for the nation which would further the caste divide, Justice Bhandari said: “Given the ultimate goal of furthering a classless/castelessn society, there is no need to go out on a limb and rewrite them into the (93rd) Amendment. Such a ruling would subject even more institutions to caste-based reservation.”