Kochi: “Minority community educational institution has no right to categorise its beneficiaries into different sects within the community and allocate the community seats reserved for candidates from these different sects,” the Kerala High Court held recently.
The directive emerged after the bench comprising honourable Justice K Surendra Mohan and Justice Shircy V dismissed the petitions filed by Karuna Medical College and Travancore Medical College, two self-financing colleges, challenging the seat matrix for Muslim quota prepared by the government for admissions in the colleges.
In their petition, the colleges had argued that Article 30 (1) of the Constitution confers a very valuable right on minority communities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
In Karuna Medical College, of the 70 seats for Muslims. The college had demanded to have a further have a classfication as per following :
- 15 for those from Palakkad,
- 5 from All India quota,
- 7 for dependents of Safe Development Alms Trust,
- 10 for District Salafi Educational Association,
- 3 seats for PMAC Committee,
- 3 for dependents of Al Nazar Trust,
- 3 for Grace Educational Trust,
- 3 for Prime Educational and Charitable Trust,
- 3 for KMEA,
- 3 for Salsabeel Educational Welfare Trust,
- 5 for NRI open merit quota
- 10 seats are for NRI Muslim community.
While in Travancore Medical College:
- 10 seats were set apart for Sunni Muslims,
- 20 seats for Muslim Shafi Mad-hab,
- 10 seats for members of Muslim Hanafi Mad-hab,
- 10 seats for members of Muslim Mujaahid Jama-ath
- 10 seats for members of Muslim Jama-ath Islami.
The government, however, did not approve these seat matrixes and went ahead with the allocation of seats as per its own seat matrix without categorisation of the community.
TNIE reports that the Government in the case contended that the right under Article 30(1) of the Constitution was available only to minority community alone. A community that is designated as such was the community of Muslims in general. No subclassification within the general category was acceptable.
It was also submitted that submitted the reservation sought for by the petitioners was not permissible either in law or fact. Though minority educational institutions are entitled to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice, while making admissions they are bound to make their choice from within a common source of candidates. Here, the common source is the NEET rank list. They have no freedom to choose their own source of candidates.
After hearing the arguments from both sides, the court dismissed the petitions and observed,
“The source from which a minority educational institution was permitted to choose its students was the minority community. No subdivision or subsect within such a community could claim a distinct and separate right. The categorisation within the community itself would give the institution freedom to exclude more meritorious candidates of the minority community and choose less meritorious ones, which was not permissible.”
The court declared that the community certificate in the case of communities shall be accepted only if they were issued by the competent revenue officials. However, such certificates could be supported by certificates issued by the religious functionaries, if necessary, adds The Hindu.