Higher Education

Higher Education

SC keeps minority colleges free of backward class quota

PUBLISH DATE 14th July 2018

Eight months after the Bombay high court came to the aid of minority educational institutions and held that they need not reserve seats for backward class students, the state government failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court in its challenge against it. Admissions can now resume for degree colleges without an additional 25% quota for backward classes in minority colleges.

A Supreme Court bench of Justices Kurien Joseph and S K Kaul dismissed the state’s belated special leave petition (SLP) that challenged the high court verdict setting aside a University of Mumbai circular issued 17 years ago to bring in a quota for reserved category students in minority colleges too. The additional quota would have breached the 50% constitutional limit.

Secretary of the minority colleges association Sunil Mantri said the institutions would abide by the ruling and carry on admissions now.

For principals, the loss of 15-plus days has hurt the academic calendar. Colleges said they would wait for the university to direct them how best they could make up. “We are forced to shift our first internal exams to the first week of September. The lost teaching time is the biggest loss,” said Agnelo Menezes, principal, St Xavier’s College.

With the apex court dismissing the case, the first list holds good and the second merit list is to be declared on Saturday. The third list is to be out on Wednesday.


Supreme Court dismisses need to take re-look at law

Most colleges saw outstation students shortlisted in the first merit list leave for other states or their home state. “We have had students from Delhi and Rajasthan take their documents and leave,” said Parag Thakkar, principal, HR College. Royal College principal A E Lakdawala said: “This has been a 17-year-old long battle that is now settled.”

The SC heard the arguments for about 20 minutes, where counsel for the state, A N Nadkarni and Nishant Katneshwarkar, and those for the university, P S Narasimha and Rui Rodrigues, submitted that the law and the amendments made to the provision that keep minority institutions out of the ambit of such quotas be given a re-look to bring a balance between two provisions and to read harmoniously with the constitutional provisions.

They argued that Article 15(4) and Article 15(5) of the Constitution, which provide for making provisions for advancement of socially and educationally backward classes, are enabling provisions and the state is not debarred from making provisions for reservations. They also said that “Article 15(5) does not exclude Article 15

(4); both must be read together”. The emphasis by the state was that “by making provisions for reservation, minority character of institutions is not disturbed, that is, the prescribed minority seats of an institution is not affected, such reservation cannot be faulted with.”

The bench held that the issue to keep minorities out was already settled by earlier judgments of the apex court and need not be revisited.


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