The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions has made it clear that the percentage of admission of students from a notified minority community in an educational institution cannot be an index of the minority status of such an institution.

Quoting the Supreme Court judgment in the T.M.A. Pai case, the Commission comprising its Chairman Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui and Members, Dr. Mohinder Singh and Cyriac Thomas, in its order on July 6, said that fixing a percentage would be an unreasonable restriction wholly impermissible under Article 30 (1) of the Constitution or by judicial precedents governing the field.

Imposing a uniform ceiling on admission of minority students in all types of educational institutions established by the minorities is virtual negation of the autonomy to minorities in running educational institutions of their choice, it said.

The Chairman, who wrote the order, said that so long as the institution retained its essential character by achieving its objectives to conserve its religion and language and to give a thorough, good, general education to children belonging to its community it would remain a minority institution. No rigid formula for identifying a minority educational institution could be imposed.It made it clear that a ceiling of 50 per cent could not be imposed against the minority institutions, requiring them to compulsorily admit minority students up to 50 per cent. It said “there cannot be a common rule or regulation in respect of all types of educational institutions from primary to college level and for the entire State fixing the uniform ceiling in the matter of admission of students in minority educational institutions.”

The Commission took up the issue when the Orissa government did not act on the application filed by Buckley Primary School seeking grant of Christian minority status. It was stated that of the 297 students admitted only 95 were Christians forming 31.98 per cent.

Disposing of the application, the Commission said “fixing a formula of percentage governing admission of students in a MEI virtually involved an abject surrender of the right of establishment and management of educational institutions and the same was inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee enshrined in Article 30 (1) of the Constitution.”

The Commission declared the applicant institution as a minority institution and asked the government to issue a certificate.