Our Correspondent / NEW DELHI
The Supreme Court has ruled that the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) has powers to grant or cancel minority status of any educational institution in India. The judgement has given finality to several contradictory high court judgments which disputed the powers of NCMEI.
The Supreme Court order came in response to an appeal filed by a Christian minority institution which was granted minority status by NCMEI, but the Kolkata High Court had cancelled the same. The high court judgement had ruled that NCMEI had no jurisdictional powers to grant minority status to such institutions. The Supreme Court has over ruled that judgement.
A Bench of Justice A.K. Goel said the Constitution granted a fundamental right to all minorities, whether based on religion or language, to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The wide power given to an independent forum like the NCMEI to declare an institution as a minority educational institution furthered the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 30.
Justice Rohington Nariman, who authored the judgment, said the NCMEI Act empowered the Commission “to decide all questions relating to the status of an institution as a minority educational institution and to declare its status as such.”
“Section 11(f) would include the declaration of the status of an institution as a minority educational institution at all stages.”
The court held that the NCMEI had the power to decide any question that might arise, which relate directly or indirectly, with respect to the status of an institution as a minority educational institution.
The court held that the NCMEI could declare an establishment as a minority educational institution “at all stages.”
The apex court overruled the High Court judgment which set aside the NCMEI decision to grant minority status to Cluny Women’s College.