Delhi HC Dismisses PIL against Closure of Maulana Azad Education Foundation

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition challenging the Ministry of Minority Affairs’ decision approving a proposal of the Central Waqf Council (CFC) to shut down the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF).

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna dismissed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) observing that the decision to dissolve MAEF was well-considered and in conformity with the relevant Act, rejecting petitioners’ argument to the contrary.

“We find no merit in the petition. The same is accordingly dismissed,” the court said on the PIL filed by Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, John Dayal, and Daya Singh.

Moreover, the Central government defended its decision by saying that MAEF had become obsolete with the presence of a dedicated Ministry executing schemes for the benefit of minorities.

The court had sought the Central government’s stance on the petition last month.

MAEF, the government-funded organisation, aimed at advancing education among marginalised sections of the Muslim community.

The petition, filed by concerned citizens, argued against the closure of MAEF, citing its adverse impact on deserving and meritorious students, particularly girls, who benefit from its schemes.

The petition denounced the closure order as lacking jurisdiction and being arbitrary and mala fide.

Of particular concern was the alleged violation of legal procedures under the Societies Registration Act 1860 pertaining to the dissolution and asset transfer of societies.

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The petition contended that the closure order unlawfully dictates the dissolution of MAEF and the predetermined transfer of its assets, contravening statutory provisions.

The foundation played a pivotal role in disbursing funds, particularly through schemes like the Maulana Azad National Fellowship. However, student protests erupted after the scheme was discontinued in 2022.

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