Jamia Millia doesn’t send lawyer to court in minority status case

Jamia Millia Islamia VC’s role is under scanner after no lawyer appeared on its behalf in the Delhi High Court to espouse the cause of its minority status, resulting in an adverse order being passed

Photo by Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images
Photo by Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images

S Khurram Raza

The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has filed a revised affidavit in the Delhi High Court this month opposing the order of National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), which declared central university Jamia Millia Islamia as a religious minority organisation. During the UPA-II government, the HRD Minister Kapil Sibal HAD submitted an affidavit in the court accepting the decision of the NCMEI.

The fresh affidavit filed by the Modi government states “In any event, the Board of Jamia Millia Islamia is elected and need not necessarily consist of majority belonging to Muslim religion. The question of it being a minority institution therefore does not arise”.

The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, an apex body of 18 prominent Muslim organisations, in its press release condemned the attempt being made to compromise the minority status of educational institutions including that of Jamia Millia Islamia, which had already been declared minority institution by NCMEI. President of the Mushawarat Navaid Hamid stated “What is more surprising is that no counsel advocate appeared on behalf of Jamia Millia University to espouse the cause of its minority status resulting in an adverse order being passed”.

Firoz Bakht Ahmad, actively involved in educational upliftment of Muslims, says “As declared by NCMEI and accepted by the previous union government, the university enjoys the minority status. On the issue of no one representing the university in the court, the responsibility lies on the head of the institution”.

Firoz alleges “This is a case of obvious collusion between University administration and the government. Enquiries are going on against the Vice Chancellor, thus VC wants to be seen on the side of the government”.

Vice Chancellor Prof Talat Ahmad is presently in the UK and expected to return to Delhi in a few days.

Former Jamia student Mohd Shakir says “This is extremely unfortunate that no lawyer was present in court to fight the case of the University and this reflects that university administration wants to help the government on this issue”.

Research scholar at Jamia Shahnwaz Ahmad Shamsi is of the view “It appears the current government is anti-education that’s why it is against the granting of minority character to the Jamia”. Assistant Professor Shehzad Anjum says “The issue has become political. The Union government should understand the educational standard of the Muslims and for the upliftment of the Muslims they should not play politics with the minority status of JMI”.

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