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Allotting at Least Half of seats to students of Minority Groups made Mandatory by Tamil Nadu in Minority Institutions

Tamil Nadu state government has issued an order which mandates admission of at least 50 per cent of minority students in educational institutions in order to avoid losing their minority status. If the number of eligible applications received from the minority community are less than 50 per cent of the seats, the institution should admit all such minority students without any screening or condition.

As per government Order MS No. 65, dated April 5, educational institutions under the purview of the school education department which claim minority status should admit not less than 50 per cent of students belonging to minority community in every academic year. The order was issued by School Education Secretary Pradeep Yadav. It is applicable to Teacher Training Institutes also.

Aided educational institutions under the purview of the School Education department which claim minority status shall admit not more than 75 per cent of the students belonging to the minority community in every academic year.

According to the order, they are to submit their returns with regard to the percentage of minority students admitted in their institutions to the authorities concerned by the end of September every year without fail, in order to retain their minority status. It also pointed out various judgments given by the High Court and Supreme Court and rules given to minority institutions in the state of Andhra Pradesh and in Maharashtra, in this regard.

New Indian Express quoted senior officials of the School Education Department in Chennai as saying “Tamil Nadu’s move was not new, given that in Andhra Pradesh a minority institution should have 75 per cent of minority students in their institutions to enjoy the right of minority status. Likewise, in Maharashtra, it is 50 per cent”.

According to the report, Educationist Prince Gajendra Babu said, “Admission is open for all, irrespective of religion, language, caste or creed. Then how can anyone say at least 50 per cent should be belonging to the same minority community. If there are only a few people in the area where a minority management starts an institution, does that mean they should not admit other community people more and above 50 per cent of students of that minority community? Can it provide economic strength or can any institute survive economically?”

M G Dawood Miakhan, administrative member of Organisation of Muslim Educational Institutions and Associations of Tamil Nadu said “We think this GO was not brought out with good intentions. In most of the Muslim  institutions, majority of the students are from other communities. We could not fill 50 per cent (of seats with) students from own community and this will affect all sections of people and create social problems,”

The term “minority’’ is not defined in the Constitution but is generally meant to refer to a community which constitutes less than 50 per cent of the total population in a region. Article 30 of the Constitution explicitly recognises the right of minorities, religious or linguistic, to “establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”.

The New Indian Express reports that the officials drew attention to the errant minority institutions, including aided ones in which teachers were paid by the State, that did not follow guidelines in recruitment of teachers. “As per the rules, a teacher should pass Teacher Eligibility Test (TET). But these minority institutions, claiming that they enjoy minority rights, do not follow this important rule. Likewise the minority institutions running matriculation schools are not giving up 25 per cent of their seats under the Right to Education (RTE) Act on the grounds of their minority status,” an official added.

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