National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) Chairman M.S.A.Siddiqui on Tuesday came down heavily on the State Government for issuing temporary minority status certificates to educational institutions.
Addressing a conference on ‘Rights and opportunities for minority institutions in Tamil Nadu,’ Mr. Justice Siddiqui said, “Particularly in Tamil Nadu, there is tendency of issuing temporary minority status certificates either for one year or two, subject to renewal after expiry of the period. That is wholly illegal.”
The conference was jointly organised by the NCMEI and Muslim Educational Association of Southern India (MEASI).
Mr. Justice Siddiqui recalled that in the case of T.K.V.T.S.S Medical Educational and Charitable Trust Vs the State of Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court had held that minority status could not be conferred on a minority educational institution for particular period to be renewed periodically like a driving licence.
The court had said, “It is not open for the State Government to review its earlier order conferring minority status on a minority educational institution unless it is shown that the institution concerned has suppressed any material fact… or there is fundamental change of circumstances warranting cancellation on the earlier order.”
Though such ruling was delivered in 2002, he said, “Still, the State Government is issuing temporary minority education certificates. That is contrary to ruling of the high court. That shows they don’t any respect either for their own high court or the constitution…this is totally illegal and [shows the] myopic approach of competent authority of the State Government.”
Mr. Justice Siddiqui said that when the institutions that had got temporary certificates approached the commission, the certificates were converted into permanent ones by relying on a Supreme Court judgment.
Advising the State Government to desist from such practice, he said, “We expect and hope that the officers will follow the judgment of the court.”
Dwelling on various functions of the NCMEI, Mr. Justice Siddiqui said that around 14,000 cases had been filed so far and 13,000 disposed. Only 1000-odd cases remained pending as on end of last year. Appealing to Muslim minority institutions to utilise the services, he lamented stated that “the Muslim community institutions have not fully utilised the services of NCMEI.”
Presiding over the conference, the Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali urged that the mandate of the Commission be expanded to look into the problems faced by minority students in getting admitted to schools under Right to Education Act. It also could look into the drop-out rate among minorities and suggest remedies.