The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court has issued notices to the Chairman, University Grant Commission( UGC) and Secretary, National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) on a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of NCMEI Act-2004.
The PIL alleged that it was against the principle of secularism, on which the court provided three weeks time to the Union Government to file a reply.
A division bench of Justices Shree Narain Shukla and Rajan Roy passed the order on April 29 on a PIL filed by Hindu Front For Justice, a group of 11 local lawyers.
The petitioners sought a direction or declaration to the effect that NCMEI) Act, 2004 is ultra vires to the constitution and against the principle of secularism and being void the Act be struck down/quashed.
The petitioners' counsel H S Jain alleged that the Act allures the minority communities to establish Minority Educational Institutions by making special provisions for them.
Hence, the Act is discriminatory as similarly situated non-minority educational institutions have been deprived of such benefits, he argued.
Jain submitted that the state cannot make any discrimination with non-minority educational institutions and no special provision giving more power and special procedure can be made in favour of minority educational institutions.
The Act, being violative of Article 14 (right to equality) of the constitution, is void and liable to be struck down, he further submitted.
On behalf of Union of India, Additional Solicitor General Ashok Mehta sought three weeks time to file counter affidavit, which was allowed by the court.
He submitted that till date the issue raised before this court has not been settled by the court of law and it is open for consideration of this court.
The court, while issuing notices to NCMEI and UGC, directed to list this matter after three weeks.