Minority Education Bill
The Parliament on March 10, 2006 passed the National Commission for the Minorities Educational Institutions Act 2006, which enables any minority educational institution to seek affiliation with Central universities. Hustled through the two houses, the Bill is successor to an ordinance issued in November last and confers some benefits which were previously not thought of. It offers the minority institutions to seek affiliation with Central universities such as University of Delhi, Pondicherry University, North Eastern Hill University, Assam University, Nagaland University and Mizoram University. If a university named in the schedule denies affiliation to an institution, a 3-member commission (with all the three belonging to the minority community) would give the final and binding ruling. This committee will be headed by a High Court judge and vested with all relevant executive and judicial powers. This commission can advise the central and state governments on any question relating to the minorities’ education, which are referred to it. According to the bill, the commission can “look into specific complaints regarding deprivation or violation of rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice and any dispute relating to affiliation to a scheduled university and report its findings to the central government for its implementation. Only the central government shall have the powers to over-rule the decisions of the commission.
It provides a re-dressal for the discriminatory attitude of the state governments which often deny recognition and affiliation of minority institutions to the State Board or Universities. Under its provisions, a state government would be required to issue a “No Objection Certificate” to a minority institution within 90 days of its application to the effect or would give reasons for non-issuance. If no reasons are cited, it would take issuance of the NOC. This constitutes a certain advance over the present situation where minorities are left in endless suspended animation.
But the Act does not provide adequate safeguards against commercialisation of minority professional colleges. It would have been better if the Act would have made it mandatory for such institutions to ensure that 50 per cent of the students belonged to the community to which the colleges belonged and that students of that community from others states, where they were not a minority, were not included under this. There is also this apprehension that there would be intense race for affiliation with prestigious Central Universities such as Delhi University and this would translate into exorbitant fee for courses.