National

Supreme Court rules NCMEI has wide powers

The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) has original jurisdiction to determine which institution should be granted minority status.

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 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 judgment agreed with the submissions made by senior advocates Sanjay Hegde, C.U. Singh and advocate Romy Chacko.

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.

‘At all stages’

The court held that the NCMEI could declare an establishment as a minority educational institution “at all stages.”

Justice Nariman said the 2006 amendments to the NCMEI Act introduced a “sea change” to the Commission’s powers. The 2006 amendments even conferred powers of appeal against orders of the competent authority to the NCMEI. A power of cancellation was also vested in the NCMEI to cancel a certificate granted either by an authority or the NCMEI.

The apex court overruled a Calcutta High Court judgment which set aside the NCMEI decision to grant minority status to Cluny Women’s College.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2021 3:58:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-rules-ncmei-has-wide-powers/article23590265.ece

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