Madras High Court in southern Tamil Nadu bans government from imposing education quotas
Two girls pass by the gate of St. Columba's School established by Irish Christian Brothers in 1941 in India's national capital New Delhi. Under Indian constitution, religious minority groups are allowed to run education institutions of their choice without government interference. (Photo: Bijay Kumar Minj/UCA News)
The top court in a southern Indian state has ruled that education institutions of minorities, including Christians, do not have to implement reservation quotas, which are part of the country's affirmative action program.
In its order, the Madras High Court in Tamil Nadu said that the government cannot compel educational institutions run by religious and linguistic minorities to provide the reservation quotas.
The quota system, commonly called "reservation" in India, is a means of compensation to address the historic oppression, inequality, and discrimination faced by some communities like the Dalits or former untouchables and tribal people among others, as promised by the constitution.
India recognizes Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians (Parsis) as religious minority groups. They can run educational institutions of their choice with financial aid from the government but without interference under Article 30 of the constitution.
“We have no hesitation to hold that the concept of communal reservation or reservation for Scheduled Castes [Dalits], Scheduled Tribes [tribal people] and Other Backward Classes of citizens would not apply to minority institutions,” Chief Justice S.V. Gangapurwala and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu said in their Sept. 29 order.
The court upheld the right of minority institutions to admit students from religious and linguistic minorities up to 50 percent of the sanctioned intake.
The judges ruled the government had no right to restrict the minority status of an institution to a particular period.
The status, once granted, would continue until the state-run National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions cancels it, they said.
The order came in response to a petition by the Chennai-based Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College for Women, belonging to the Muslim community.
The college challenged the government order, dismissing its plea for an extension of minority status.
The Church runs nearly 15,000 colleges and schools in India and has not officially responded to the court order.
According to Catholic educators, the order will protect minority institutions from unwarranted government harassment and interference.
The Church officials or bishops' forums have not officially responded to the verdict.
Share your comments
Hainan, the island province, is the southernmost point of China. The main island is 3.39 sq. kilometers in area. Ethnic
In a land area of 31,019 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers civil districts of Kadapa and
In a land area of 90,000 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers three districts: Merauke, Mappi and Boven
The Sacred Heart Cathedral in Yamate of Yokohama is the oldest Catholic Church built in 1862 by...
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes is a must visit for Asian Catholics who revere Mother Mary and...
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a...