Minorities panel order on admission stayed
AN order dated October 16 of the State Minorities Commission (SMC) directing certain autonomous colleges to submit details about admission of students for the past three years to check whether 50 per cent seats have been filled with students from minority communities, has been stayed by the Madras High Court.
Justice S S Sundar granted the stay while passing interim orders on writ petitions from Loyola College at Nungambakkam and other minority institutions in the city and the districts.
The judge also ordered notice to Higher education secretary, SMC and two others, returnable in two weeks.
Petitioner’s senior counsel Isaac Mohanlal submitted that it is practically impossible to admit 50 per cent of students belonging to minority community in the petitioners’ institutions. He assured the judge, by way of an undertaking, that the institutions will not deny admission to any eligible candidate belonging to minority communities. “Hence, there shall be an order of interim stay,” the judge said.
In his petition, Andrew Francis, Principal of Loyola College, submitted that although it was a minority institution, admission was not denied to anyone on grounds of religion, caste or creed. Denial of admission to any candidate on the ground would violate the right of students to get admission. While so, SMC issued notice stating that the prime intention of a minority educational institution was to uplift the educationally backward minority people and sprinkling of non-minority students in minority educational institution was to be only peripheral either for generating additional financial source or for cultural courtesy. It was brought to the notice of SMC that admission of non-minority students were not peripheral, but large in number in some minority institutions and thus, reservation of seats for minority communities were not followed in reference to the guidelines prescribed in the 1998 G.O, it added and directed the petitioner to appear for a personal hearing with the details of the students admitted for the past three academic years. On enquiry, the authorities said the SMC was insisting upon minority colleges to fill a minimum 50 per cent s e at s o n ly wi t h mi n o r i t y candidates.
Counsel contended that SMC does not have the authority to fix any such criteria in the matter of admission in minority institutions.
The act of SMC interfering with admission of students is arbitrary, illegal, unconstitutional and without jurisdiction, he said.
Tamil Nadu Private Colleges (Regulation) Act and rules do not empower SMC to direct private minority educational institutions to prescribe percentage of admission