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No quota for students from backward classes in minority colleges: SC

Saturday, July 14, 2018
By Tanishka Sodhi

Upholding the HC's order, SC dismissed the state's SLP; admission process to resume today

Supreme Court dismissed the Special Leave Petition filed by the Maharashtra Government that intended to move Bombay High Court's order from 8  months ago that permitted minority colleges to not keep seats reserved for students from backward classes. The degree college admissions, which were kept on hold for the past few weeks until the SLP was heard by the SC, will resume with the second merit list expected to be released today.

The bench, consisting of Justice Kurien Joseph and Justice S K Kaul, dismissed the State's SLP after hearing the argument for 20 minutes. They held that the issue to exempt minority colleges from holding reservation for backward classes was already settled by earlier courts.

Following a Mumbai University circular in 2001, all colleges, minority included, kept 25% of seats reserved for students from SC, ST and other backward classes. The HC order of October changed that, exempting minority colleges from this rule.

After the first merit list for degree college admissions was released on June 19, students' unions protested against this move until the cause was taken up by the state government. As the admission process was kept on hold until this matter would be resolved, students and parents have been anxious and confused about what steps to take next. The students who had their names in the first merit lists were not granted admission either.

Following the decision taken by the Supreme Court yesterday, the University of Mumbai passed a circular to the relief of students and colleges, informing them of the SC's order and that the admission process was set to resume immediately, with the second merit lists for all courses across colleges expected to be released by 5pm today.

Charni Road's Wilson College will continue to keep 25% reserved for students from backward classes. The principal of the college, Michelle Phillips, said, “Personally I think minority rights should be respected, this is a landmark judgment in that perspective. However, Wilson college has decided to uphold the vision of our founding father, John Wilson, who wanted to provide education to all, especially those from less privileged backgrounds. After in depth discussion, our admission committee decided to keep 25% seats reserved for students from backward classes in the first list, and we will continue to do so for the coming lists too - for aided as well as unaided courses. The strength of our college is that we convert students who used to get 40% into students who get 60% and more. Students from underprivileged backrounds do not always have the resources to study as much and receive the quality of education they deserve, which we are always trying to change.”

Ashok Wadia, principal of Jai Hind College, Churchgate, said, “Just like students, I am relieved more than anything. Finally the confusion has come to an end and we can carry on with the admission process, and begin the academic year too. We will be following the instructions of the University and courts, but will try to be inclusive and accommodate all students.”

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