Unjust Dismantling: The Plight of Maulana Azad Education Foundation

HomeNational News and Affairs

Unjust Dismantling: The Plight of Maulana Azad Education Foundation

Islamic Broadcasting Union Contributes to Enhancing Islamic Solidarity in Radio and Television Broadcast
Seminar on Awqaf
Hindu Family Donates Land for Muslim Burial Ground

“Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas,” a mantra often echoed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, rings hollow in light of the treatment of minorities since his assumption of office in May 2014. Institutions dedicated to their welfare have not been spared from the repercussions of this discriminatory policy. The Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), a stalwart in supporting minority communities for 35 years, finds itself as the latest casualty of this systemic bias. Abruptly, the Modi administration declared its shutdown without offering any cogent explanation. However, an immediate challenge to this decision was mounted in the Delhi High Court, which issued an interim order to halt any actions until further hearings.

Modi Government’s Argument
In response to the petition contesting the closure order directed at MAEF, the Modi administration argued that the foundation predates the establishment of the Ministry of Minority Affairs. They asserted that allowing a monopoly over minority development, especially after the dissolution of the foundation as per legal protocols, is untenable. Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma emphasized the presence of a specialized ministry adequately staffed to address minority needs comprehensively, rendering the foundation’s continued operation redundant. He claimed that the foundation’s projects had been assimilated into similar ministry initiatives, emphasizing that the petitioners lacked authority to dictate policy matters to the executive.

Moreover, the government cited incomplete projects initiated by MAEF and asserted that the decision to dissolve it adhered strictly to legal procedures, with a majority of the governing body members consenting to the dissolution.

Petitioners’ Case
Represented by Senior Counsel Anand Grover, petitioners argued that the decision to dismantle MAEF was unlawful. They highlighted that the abrupt closure denied deserving students, particularly girls, access to MAEF programs. They deemed the decision arbitrary, without jurisdiction, and an abuse of state authority. The petition underscored MAEF’s significant contributions to minority education in India and stressed the need for transparency and adherence to the law in such decisions.

Delhi High Court’s Intervention
The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court ordered the Ministry to clarify its position and explain steps to ensure the continuation of MAEF’s welfare programs. The Court also placed a stay on the government order pending further deliberations.

Foundation Activities and Community Reactions
Established in 1989, MAEF provided scholarships and grants to support minority education, although some programs were discontinued by the government in 2022. Community leaders criticized the lack of transparency in the closure process and questioned the legality of transferring assets to the Central Waqf Council. Former Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan expressed grave concern, labeling the decision as a deliberate attempt to mislead ahead of elections. Former Member of Parliament Muhammad Adeeb condemned the government’s reasoning and criticized the VCs of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia for supporting MAEF’s closure.

The Future
While NCP MP Dr. Fauzia Khan urged reconsideration of MAEF’s closure, the case remains pending in the Delhi High Court, offering hope for its future.

In summary, the dismantling of MAEF reflects a concerning trend of discrimination against minority institutions, underscoring the urgent need for transparency, accountability, and equitable treatment in governance.