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Chandigarh’s Vivek High School wanted to avoid EWS admissions, says HC

The HC on Friday ruled that the school is not a minority institute.

punjab Updated: Aug 19, 2018 11:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh,Vivek High School,EWS admissions
The Chandigarh education department had challenged the Sikh minority status given to Vivek High School, Sector 38, in 2016.(HT File )

Vivek High School, Sector 38, Chandigarh obtained the Sikh minority status to avoid admissions to students from economically weaker section (EWS), the Punjab and Haryana high court has said.

The HC on Friday ruled that the school is not a minority institute. In the detailed judgment released on Saturday, the HC bench of justice RK Jain said the school has “as a matter of fact tried to avoid the provisions of law by trying to change its colour and obtained a declaration which was not allowed to be given by the commission”.

The judgment came on the Chandigarh administration’s plea against minority status granted by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutes (NCMEI) to the school run by Bhagwant Singh Charitable Trust in February 4, 2016.

The school was initially cornered by the Chandigarh administration for not reserving 15% seats for the EWS category under a 2005 scheme. The school approached the national commission in May 2012 after the Supreme Court ruled that it was not mandatory for minority institutes to admit 25% EWS students under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which came into force in 2010.

In fact, 13 city schools got the minority tag after 2010 and only two secured a no-objection certificate from the Chandigarh education department, which the HC said was mandatory. Petitions against other schools are pending.

Meanwhile, school chairman HS Mamik said the judgment is not agreeable with him, and he will be appealing against it.

‘A secular Trust’

The bench observed that the school is run by a secular Trust and no reference to the religion was made in the original deed. Therefore, the HC said the NCMEI had no jurisdiction to grant the minority status.

“(The school) had no pre-existing right of being a religious minority to establish and administer the school on religion basis… in order to overcome this difficulty, (it) decided to bring into existence a supplementary trust deed,” the HC said, adding that it was in this 2014 deed that it was mentioned the Trust members are Sikhs and the school is being run for the benefit of Sikhs.

The court said the commission did not apply its mind “at all” and allowed the alteration of the deed. “Trust cannot be altered by way of addition or subtraction by the trustees... The objects of the Trust are the basic features which have been illegally altered,” it said.

First Published: Aug 19, 2018 10:46 IST