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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

ISSUES 

Proposed Commission for Minority Institutions totally inadequate

All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat president said in a statement that the Proposed Commission for Minority Institutions’ impact on educational initiative by Muslims will be marginal and insubstantial. Here is the text of his statement issued on 8 December:

"The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) has carefully examined the provisions of the Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on 7 December, 2004 to replace the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Ordinance, 2004.

The AIMMM finds that the Commission, as designed and to the extent empowered in the Bill, does not address the real and genuine difficulties faced by thousands of educational institutions of their choice established by the Muslim community under Article 30(1) of the Constitution. 

The Muslim educational institutions range from primary schools to post-graduate colleges and include technical and professional colleges.

1. Madrasas, which educate the students so as to enable them to switch to middle schools, or high schools or higher secondary schools or colleges at appropriate levels fall outside the purview of the Commission.

2. Schools, which seek recognition and grant-in-aid from State authorities and admission to examinations conducted by State Examination Board fall outside the purview of the Commission.

3. Colleges, general as well as technical and professional, which seek affiliation to State universities in their own States fall outside the jurisdiction of the Commission. 

96.52% of the Muslim population lives in 15 States, UP, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Assam, Kerala, AP, J&K, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. The Bill designates 6 universities out of which 4 have no attraction at all for the Muslims, the marginal exceptions being Assam and Delhi Universities. But Muslims in Assam and Delhi with 5.96% and 1.18% of the State population have no problem. Assam University has no attraction for outsiders. And obviously the capacity of Delhi University to affiliate Muslim colleges from outside Delhi and even from Delhi itself is limited.

4. Professional and Technical Colleges established by the Muslim community face great difficulty in obtaining NOC’s from the State Governments. The Commission has no jurisdiction to intervene in such cases.

They also face enormous difficulty in obtaining approval of the statutory bodies like the MCI and the AICTE. The Commission has no jurisdiction to intervene in such cases.

5. Minority Institutions have the constitutional right to receive due grant-in-aid from the State Governments/universities and other statutory bodies under Article 30(2) of the Constitution. The Commission has no power to intervene or to ensure sanction of grant-in-aid.

Since the Commission has the last word only under Section 12(1) of the Bill in cases relating to disputes on affiliation of Muslim colleges to the Scheduled Universities, which shall be rare, the sum total of the assistance rendered by the Commission to the Muslim community in the national context will be marginal and insubstantial.

In short, except for intervening in a ‘dispute’ with a scheduled university, if and when a Muslim college seeks affiliation thereto, there is no way the Commission can facilitate the full enjoyment by the Muslim community of its constitutional rights under Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

The existing National Commission for Minorities has a much wider scope and jurisdiction and has been assisting the Minority Educational Institutions of various levels including those established by the Muslim community in obtaining recognition, affiliation, admission to examinations and grant-in-aid. The present Commission duplicates the function of the NCM only in cases arising from Muslim institution’s desire for affiliation to one of the Scheduled Universities.

The AIMMM is simply puzzled as to how this mismatch between expectation and non-fulfillment has occurred.

The AIMMM, therefore, requests the Union Government, to reformulate the legislation to provide an institutional arrangement which effectively removes the real difficulties faced by the Muslim community, so that it may feel encouraged to invest its savings, sparse as they are, in education, for advancing and promoting the future of its children, from the primary right upto university level, including professional and technical courses.
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