New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday exempted four minority colleges of Delhi University from reserving 27 percent seats for students from Other Backward Classes (OBCs) for the 2012-13 academic year.

The court's order came while hearing the plea filed by a group of colleges seeking exemption from reserving 27 percent seats for students from OBCs, as they were minority-run institutions.

The court said these colleges shall provide reservation in admission for Schedule Castes/Scheduled Tribes as per the university's norms, but "they will not be obliged to give reservation to OBCs".

A division bench of Justice V.K. Jain and Justice Pratibha Rani said: "We are modifying the order dated 29 May 2012 to the extent that the appellant (colleges) shall give reservation in admission for the year 2012-2013 to SC/ST category, as per the norms of DU, but they will not be obliged to give reservation to OBC.

"Four colleges run by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), constituted under the Delhi Sikh Gurdwaras Act, approached the court challenging a single judge's May 29 order directing them to continue with the admission process in accordance with the DU guidelines which lay down reservation for the SC/ST and OBC students.

Accepting the contentions of senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi that they were granted the status of minority institutions by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), the court said: "We are of the view that the practice, which these institutions had been following till 2011-2012 for reservation, should not be change to their (colleges) disadvantage, particularly when these institutes has already been declared as minority institutions".

During the hearing, advocate appearing for DU said that reservation rule of DU for OBC should be followed by these colleges also.

The colleges - Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, Guru Gobind Singh College, Mata Sundari College and Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College - declared minority institutes last year contended that the reservation policy was not applicable to their institutions in view of a Supreme Court verdict on OBC reservations.

The apex court had held that minority educational institutions (MEI), whether they were aided by the government or unaided, were exempted from reserving seats for OBCs, the colleges said in their petition.

Appearing for the colleges, senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi submitted that the reservation policy was not only contrary to the constitution but also went against the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act, 2006.

Noting that the admission procedure for the academic year 2012-2013 has started June 4, the four colleges sought necessary directions to permit them to continue with the admission process for this academic year as was being done in the past.

"The appellant (colleges) herein filed an application for necessary directions, thereby permitting the appellant to continue with the admission/recruitment process for the academic year 2012-2013, as was being done by the appellant in the past years in the interest of the academic career of thousands of students who would apply for admission, so that there should be no ambiguity with respect to their status of admission," said the petition.

"All along for the past 20-30 years, the Delhi University has permitted the DSGMC to give preferential treatment to the religious and linguistic minorities in the appellant colleges. There is no reason as to why the Delhi University all of a sudden now wishes to treat the appellant colleges as non-MEIs," the petition stated.

(Agencies)

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