FORMAL ORDER OF A COMPETENT AUTHORITY NECESSARY FOR MINORITY STATUS, SAYS KERALA HIGH COURT

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The Kerala High Court has observed that mere assertion by a minority community or institution may not be sufficient to get "minority status" as a formal order or declaration by a competent authority to that effect was imperative.

Justice A K Basheer made the observation while disposing off a batch of writ petitions filed by various minority institutions in the state, challenging the government order dated October 16, 2006, regarding the right to management of private aided colleges which claim minority status.

Quashing the GO, the judge held that only the management of a minority institution could appoint a candidate of its choice as principal of a private aided college. In the absence of a formal declaration of minority status, the management was bound to comply with the mandate contained in the University Act.

The court further held that the management of private aided college was entitled to appoint a senior teacher as drawal and disbursal officer in the temporary absence of an approved principal.

The government or the Directorate of Collegiate Education could not insist that only the senior most teacher could be appointed.

However, the court made it clear that such drawal and disbursal officer could not discharge the duties and functions of a principal.

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