1. The genesis of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions can be traced to the UPA Government’s manifesto called ‘National Common Minimum Programme’. In the NCMP, in its Section on “National Harmony, Welfare of Minorities”, it was mentioned that a Commission for minority educational institutions would be established which will provide direct affiliation for minority professional institutions to Central Universities.
2. The NCMEI Act was an outcome of detailed consultations in a meeting held on Minority Education and Welfare at New Delhi which was followed by subsequent discussions in the National Monitoring Committee on Minority Education.
3. The Government brought out an Ordinance in November 2004 establishing the Commission. Later a Bill was introduced in the Parliament in December 2004 and both Houses passed the Bill. The NCMEI Act was notified in January 2005. "However, the linguistic minorities are outside the purview of the NCMEI Act."
4. The Commission is mandated to look into specific complaints regarding deprivation or violation of rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Protection of rights of minorities are enshrined in Article 30 of the Constitution which states that “all minorities, whether based on religion or language shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”.
5. Thus, the Commission can look into any complaints relating to violation and deprivation of rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
6. This is the first time that a specific Commission has been established for protecting and safeguarding the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. This Commission is a quasi-judicial body and has been endowed with the powers of a Civil Court. It is headed by a Chairman who has been a Judge of the Delhi High Court and two members to be nominated by Central Government. The Commission has 3 roles namely adjudicatory function, advisory function and recommendatory powers.
7. So far as affiliation of a minority educational institution to a university is concerned, the decision of the Commission would be final.
8. The Commission has powers to advise the Central Government or any State Government on any question relating to the education of minorities that may be referred to it.
9. The Commission can make recommendations to the Central Government and the State Governments regarding any matter which directly or indirectly deprives the minority community of their educational rights enshrined in Article 30.
10. The empowerment of the Commission has provided a much needed forum for the minority educational institutions to highlight their grievances and to get speedy relief. The subject matter of a petition / complaint include non issue of No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the State Governments, delay in issue of NOC, refusal / delay in issue of minority status to minority educational institutions, refusal to allow opening of new colleges / schools / institutions by minorities, refusal to allow additional courses in minority educational institutions, delay / refusal in the release of grants in-aid, refusal to give financial assistance, denial of permission to create new posts of teachers in minority educational institutions even though there is increase in the number of students, approval of appointment of teachers being denied, non equality in pay scales of minority schools teachers as compared to Government school teachers denial of teaching aids and or other facilities like computers, library, laboratory etc. to minority educational institutions on par with Government institution, non availability of books in Urdu in all subject for students of Urdu school, non appointment of Urdu knowing teachers, in adequate payment to Madrasa employees, non-release of grants to Madrasa, non-payment of retirement benefits to teachers and non-teaching staff of minority schools, extension of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan facilities to minority educational institution especially in the deprived rural areas etc.