In a significant ruling for Kerala which has several educational institutions run by minorities, the Madras High Court has held that the minority status of an institution cannot be decided by the number of students .
The court on Wednesday quashed a GO of the Tamil Nadu Governent that these institutions should admit at least 50 per cent of students from these communities to claim or retain minority status.
Upholding a petition from the Institute of the Fransiscan Missionof Mary, Justice T Raja said the Government has no power to issue such a GO on the minority status of educational institutions under the National for Minority Educational Instituions Act.
The judge upheld the contention of the petitioner that an institution gains its minority status because it is set up and run by the minority community and it cannot be decided on the basis of students from that community in a year.
The petitioner said:” The Supreme Court time and again held that the minority institutions gain their minority character because they are established and administered by the minority community and not because of the number of minority students admitted therein. If minority status is linked to the ratio of admissions of minority students, the minority status will fluctuate each year”.
Terming the Go as malafide, it said there was no basis for such a GO in the absence from any Christian students that they have been denied admission.
Pointing out that Christians were only six per cent of the Tamil Nadu population, it said that the condition that an institution can claim minority status only if it 50 per cent of its students were Christians would impose an irrational and impractical burden on these institutions.