Reality Check India

On the hearings in the NCMEI Court

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on October 26, 2017

As soon as sweeping into power in 2004, the Congress party created the NCMEI through the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act 2004.  Still amazes me to this date, that this little blog is the only place where you can find information  about this all important judicial body that commands the central domain of education. This impacts all of India’s children and through them the destiny of this nation.  If you dont know what NCMEI is – please go on to “Bulwarks erected against redefining minorities in India’s edu system – the genesis of NCMEI”  and also read “A Brief History of the 93rd Constitution Amendment”

To recap,  the NCMEI is a  judicial body (with powers of a civil court) with the following unique features

  • that by LAW excludes Hindus from being judges in this court (Sec 4 of NCMEI Act)
  • that not only adjudicates on issues where all the parties are minorities but also adjudicates when the affected parties are Hindus.  Even though the institutional control matter may be minority owned – the majority of students and staff in these institutions are not minorities but Hindus. A rough example of a purely inward looking body would be  AIMPLB that works in the domain of Muslim person law or the Canon Law Society of India for Christians..
  • that by virtue of its power to grant the Minority Certificate , takes out entire institutions and chains of institutions out of the purview of  the notorious central education law – the RTE.
  • that obtaining the minority certificate also insulates the institutions from the Art 15(5) inserted by the 93rd Constitutional Amendment. This is a so called “enabling amendment” that allows any type of statute against a non-minority institution. In other words an open ended confiscation

I expected the Narendra Modi govt in 2014 itself to repeal the NCMEI Act.  Even  by May 2014  had issued some 12,000  minority certificates. Till date this body  continues to function and even thrive. The NCMEI has been busy of late issuing Minority Status Certificates and also hearing other types of cases.

Here I want to show how a typical case is decided based on the Daily Orders found on the NCMEI Website. Then I will identify the alarming deficiency in India’s judicial thinking process by citing a “Tequiyyah” that is just not pursued and examined.

What is the matter to be considered before issuance of Minority Certificate

We are used to judicial delays in the normal court system. In the case of NCMEI the cases which were scheduled for hearing in Jan 16 2018 have  been advanced to Oct 17 2017 in the “interest of justice”!  But lets see a typical Minority Certificate order and what is being tested. This is just an example – all the orders I read seem to be copy-paste with just the names changed.

In the following typical case a school run by St Thomas Education society in Kodagu Dist Karnataka has not received a Minority Certificate from KA Govt  even after 1 year of applying and they have come to NCMEI to get it.

The order is only 2 pages. What is tested are

  1. All members of the society are Christians
  2. The school is setup for the benefit of the Christian community.

Now you would think that Item 2 implies some kind of “indicia or purpose”.  It is nothing of that sort.  All orders cite a 2010 case also decided by the NCMEI Court  called the “Buckley Primary School – Orissa” case.

MInority Status Certificate Order Issued Oct 17 2017 to Thomas Edu Society



The demographic test as an indicia

The Buckley Primary School is located in Cuttack Orissa.  The NCMEI in July 2010 ruled in favour of granting a minority status to the school even though only 31% of the students were Christian.  In fact the numbers dont matter at all, even if the Christian student population were only 10% the same logic would apply.

The judgment is here  :  Buckley Primary School (Orissa) case – Jul 2010 You can ignore the filler material in the judgment citing Stephens, TMA Pai, etc  and locate the meaty part.  I reproduce it below.

It needs to be highlighted that according to the Census Report 2001, Christian population in the State of Orissa was 8,97,861 and the total population of the State of Orissa was 36,804,660. Petitioner institution is situated in Cuttack and the total population of the District of Cuttack was 23,41,094 out of which, population of the Christian community was 10,657. It is stated in the affidavit of Mrs. Smruti Rekha Panda, Head Mistress of the petitioner school that the percentage of the Christian community in Cuttack District is 0.46%. The petitioner school is a primary school. One can make a reasonable guess that the students seeking admission in educational institutions established by the Christian community in the Cuttack District would normally be commensurable to its population. In this view of the matter, the Christian community of the District, Cuttack may not be able to secure more than 0.46% admission from its own community. Similarly, if in a particular State there may be very scanty population of a particular community and number of students seeking admission may be only handful. Would such religious or linguistic minority lose its right to establish and administer educational institution of its choice? Would religious minorities like Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains have no right of establishing and administering educational institutions of their 10choice as guaranteed under Article 30(1) of the Constitution? Thus, the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 30(1) would be a teasing illusion or a promise of unreality for them. It is a matter of common
knowledge that although the Parsi community is a notified minority community but it is also a dwindling community of our country. That being so, a microscopic minority like Parsi community cannot exercise the rights enshrined in Article 30(1) of the Constitution.

Page 8-9 : Buckley Primary School vs State of Odisha Jul 2010 – NCMEI Court


The Argument : If you insist on a demographic indicia, then  minorities who are not in significant numbers in a particular territory cannot exercise Article 30 rights. 

To explain further with an example (this is crucial to understand)  : Say you had a rule that if you wanted  a Minority status than 75% of your student body must be from the same minority community.  The argument is that ” if in X Sq Km the population is only 1%  kids then we cant meet the 75% quota in a 500 student school.”

At this point the body of men and women split into two groups.

Group 1: Just accept the argument and move on. Because digging deeper and deriving a general principle from this is too tiring and potentially unpleasant.  We do this in India.  All of the thinktanks, NitiAayoog, RSS, seem to not be bothered by this.

Group 2: The other option is to – recognize that there is something iffy about this. And get curious. Then try to examine the issue, test the boundary conditions, see if there is a general principle that will come of this rule. This is the #core group.

Here is a rough way to derive a principle.

  1. The question is not whether Minority can run a school in order to project into a Sq Km where they have minimal presence, but whether they MUST ONLY run it as a Minority institution.  After all these schools have been running without MSC for a while.
  2. We get fooled easily by the “narrow-wide” data fallacy.  You can have 0.1% population of a group in a particular state or district but more than enough in a particular locality to fill a school many times over.   So the right place to start the minority school is IN THAT colony.
  3. Consider a boundary test : say there are no Momons in Odisha and a Momon educationist wants to setup a school there. Should he be given a minority status? He is going into a land where there is no presence and hence IN THAT territory there is no culture or religion to preserve. He can run the school under the General Law that is applicable to all.
  4. The general education law in India is called the RTE and its daddy the 93rd Amendment. These are confiscatory laws that make it nearly impossible to run a school.  Hence exemption from this law is a *really really big deal*. Those who are allowed to use the Minority status and project into territories where they have a sparse presence can rapidly knock out the schools that are forced to follow the General Law.
  5. The other simpler explanation is still on the table. That the minority status here is sought to be used as a “sword” and not as a “shield” to take advantage of the religion and project influence into hitherto unreached areas.

One wonders if  the NCMEI has taken over the interpretation of Article 30. This demographic principle to the best of my knowledge is not coming from the Supreme Court.  Let me remind people again. #CORE1 will decide if you survive as a civilization. Article 30, Article 15(5) are matters of national interest not just to those of minorities.

Here is hoping,  we see some legislative action on NCMEI by the Narendra Modi Govt before the term draws to a close.




6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Ashwin Natarajan said, on October 27, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I really doubt it,@narendramodi is busy shouting development and the ground is slipping beneath his feet here

  2. Pavan said, on October 27, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I am being forced to think that it is not at all a priority to Narendra Modis Govt… Very sad that they are turning a blind eye to such an important issue

  3. Pavan said, on October 27, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Really appreciate RealityCheck’s effort in spreading awareness about this UTMOST important issue

  4. Rummuser said, on October 27, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    This is very revealing. I shall do my bit to spread this information as widely as possible.

    Please add Mailchimp or Feedburner so that we can get emsil alerts when you post.


  5. Vashisht said, on November 2, 2017 at 3:50 am

    O Rama, in this connection there is an ancient legend which I shall narrate to you. In the continent known as Jambudvipa* there is a great mountain known as Mahendra. In the forests on the slopes of that mountain many holy men and sages lived. They had in fact brought down onto that mountain the river Vyoma Ganga * (or Akasa* Ganga*) for their bath, drinking, etc. On the bank of this river there lived a holy man named Dirghatapa* who was, as his name implies, the very embodiment of ceaseless austerity. Meanwhile, BJP came to power. In the name of development, they demolished the forest and gave mining leases to rich businessmen after chasing away all the sages.

    How will rivers survive if the forests that sustains the rivers are destroyed for linking?

    More than 100 sq kms of the Panna Tiger Reserve would be lost ‘directly’ to the project including 50 sq kms of the critical tiger habitat.

    Only a Gujarati Prime Minister, who doesn’t realize that these forests were home to the great sages of yore, who has little respect for mother nature, who cannot distinguish development from greed, would have backed this project.

  6. Ammo said, on November 25, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Hindu divisiveness at its worst. Highly irresponsible for a BJP MP to inflame Jat passions:

    Kurukshetra MP Raj Kumar Saini (BJP), who had been opposing quota for Jats, had earlier announced a “Samanta Maha Sammelan” in Jind for November 26.

    Jat leader Sandeep Bharti, who led the protesters, was demanding cancellation of Saini’s rally.

    Bharti alleged that Saini was known for his anti-Jat rants. He also accused Saini of spreading communal hatred by making inflammatory and derogatory statements against Jats.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: