Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) Monday opposed before the Delhi High Court a PIL seeking 10 per cent reservation for students from economically weaker section (EWS) in terms of the 2019 amendment to the Constitution and said being a minority institution, it was not covered under the policy.
In an affidavit filed in response to the plea, JMI said as per an office memorandum issued by the Government of India in January 2019, EWS reservation in central educational institutions is not applicable to minority institutions.
“The Government of India through Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education issued an office memorandum for reservation for EWS in Central Educational Institutions..dated 17.01.2019 (which said) the ‘above reservation would not be applicable to the 8 institutions of excellence research institutions…and to the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30 of the Constitution’.
“It is submitted that EWS reservation will not be applicable in terms of aforesaid office memorandum to the Jamia Millia Islamia,” the reply filed through standing counsel Pritish Sabharwal said.
The affidavit said the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions had passed an order in February 2011 declaring Jamia Millia Islamia a minority institution.
JMI also asserted PILs were being exploited by private individuals and the present petition deserved to be dismissed for being without any merit.
Law student Akanksha Goswami had approached the high court earlier this year, asserting that the varsity ought to reserve seats for EWS category students at the time of admission from the academic year 2023-2024 in terms of the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019 which provides for 10 per cent reservation for them in higher education and government jobs.
She contended that JMI should be directed to implement the EWS reservation as it was a central university which received aid from the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The petitioner, represented by lawyers Akash Vajpai and Ayush Saxena, said in her plea that Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) was established by an Act of Parliament and is thus a central university and not a minority institution.
The plea asserted that UGC has already written to the registrars of all central universities, including JMI, to implement the EWS quota.
“Respondent No.2 (UGC) through its letter dated 18.01.2019 requested all Vice chancellors of the central universities including Respondent No. 1 to implement 10 % EWS reservation at the time of admission in their different courses from the academic year 2019-2020.
“Respondent No. 1/ Jamia Millia Islamia issued press/release on 05.02.2019 through which it refused to implement 10% EWS reservation citing its status as Minority Institution under article 30 of the Constitution of India,” the plea said.
Besides reservation, the petitioner has also prayed for setting aside an order passed by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions which had declared JMI a minority institution.
The petition has stated that JMI is nether established nor administered by the minority community as it is established by an Act of Parliament and is also funded by the Government of India.
It has said there is no provision in the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988 to allow selection of only people from the Muslim community as members of its executive and academic council. Treating a central university as a minority education institution is repugnant to law, it said.
“Respondent no 1 (Jamia) after it was incorporated and established through the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988 became another central university in the country like Banaras Hindu University and Allahabad University,” the plea has said.
The matter will be heard next on August 17.