Chennai: The Madras high court has stayed the proceedings of the State Minorities Commission, asking three renowned autonomous colleges in the city, to furnish details of the admissions made, so as to verify whether 50 percent of seats are filled up with students from minority community or not.
Justice SS Sundar granted the interim stay and ordered notice, returnable by 2 weeks, to state higher education secretary, State Minorities Commission (SMC) and two others on the petitions filed by Loyola College, Madras Christian College and Stella Maris College.
The judge said senior counsel Isaac Mohanlal, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that it is practically impossible to admit 50 percent of students belonging to minority community in the petitioners’ institutions. It is undertaken that the institutions will not deny admission to any eligible candidate belonging to a minority. Hence, there shall be an order of interim stay, the judge added.
In his petition, Andrew Francis, Principal of Loyola College, submitted that although the petitioner college was a minority educational institution, admission was not denied to anyone only on the ground of religion, caste or creed. Denial of admission to any candidate on the ground that such candidate does not belong to minority community would violate the right of the students to get admission.
To the principal’s shock, the SMC issued a notice dated October 16, 2018 stating that the prime intention of minority educational institution was to uplift the educationally backward minority people. The notice went on to say that the sprinkling of non-minority students in the minority educational institution was to be only peripheral either for generating additional financial source or for cultural courtesy, and that it was brought to its notice that the admission of non-minority students were not peripheral but large in number in some of the educational institutions and thus reservation of seats for minority communities were not followed in reference to the guidelines prescribed in the 1998 G.O, he added.
He said the SMC further directed the petitioner to appear for hearing with the details of the students admitted for the past three academic years.
On inquiry, the authorities stated that the SMC was insisting upon the minority colleges to admit minimum 50 per cent of seats only with minority candidates. As the SMC lacks the authority to fix any such criteria in the matter of admission in minority institution, the petitioner avoided furnishing the details. The act of the SMC involving in the matter of admission of students in the minority educational institution was arbitrary, illegal, unconstitutional and without jurisdiction. The TN Private Colleges (Regulation) Act and Rules do not empower the SMC with any such power to direct the private minority educational institution to prescribe any percentage of admission in minority educational institutions, he added.