The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R. Banumathi held that minority educational institutions have absolute right to appoint qualified persons as Principal from the community ignoring seniority.
“The emerging position is that, once the Management of a minority educational institution makes a conscious choice of a qualified person from the minority community to lead the institution, either as the Headmaster or Principal, the court cannot go into the merits of the choice or the rationality or propriety of the process of choice. In that regard, the right under Article 30(1) is absolute” .
Article 30. Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions:
1. All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice
1A In making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of an educational institution established and administered by a minority, referred to in clause (1), the State shall ensure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for the acquisition of such property is such as would not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed under that clause
2. The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language
In January 2017, the SC had stated that “while under the constitutional scheme, a “minority institution” is free to select and appoint a principal, without being bound by the principle of seniority alone, whether the appointment has been made fairly and reasonably and whether there is violation of right of an individual eligible candidate by the minority institution by not adopting fair procedure, is liable to be tested in exercise of power of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution.