New Delhi, April 16: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday upheld the Centre's decision to dissolve the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) which was set up in 1989 for promoting education among educationally backward minorities. A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan dismissed a PIL by Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, John Dayal and Daya Singh against the dissolution, saying the decision of the MAEF general body to that effect was "well considered" and the court was "not impressed" by the petitioners' objections.

"The decision to dissolve MAEF has been duly taken by the general body of the MAEF and this court finds no impropriety or irregularity in the process adopted by the general body in arriving at the said decision," the bench, also comprising Justice Mini Pushkarna, said while pronouncing the verdict. "This court finds no merit in the petition and the same is accordingly dismissed," the court said. Anti-Minority Sentiments Behind Scrapping of Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme by Modi Government, Says Congress MP K Suresh in Lok Sabha

The petitioners had approached the high court earlier this year against the February 7 order of the Ministry of Minority Affairs which instructed the MAEF to carry out the closure process at the earliest and submit copy of the closure certificate issued by the Registrar of Societies of the Delhi government on completion of all procedures, as per extant laws.

The Centre had defended its decision in the court, saying MAEF has become "obsolete" when there is a dedicated ministry holistically executing schemes for the benefit of the minorities. The ministry's order was issued in reference to a proposal received from the Central Waqf Council (CWC) on January 21 to close the MAEF. The court had reserved its verdict on the PIL on March 13 after hearing both the sides. BJP MP Pritam Munde Seeks Rollback of Decision To Do Away With Scholarships for Minorities

The petitioners had said in their PIL that the ministry's order not only deprived the deserving students, especially girls, from availing the benefits of the schemes of the MAEF but is also without jurisdiction, completely malafide, arbitrary and a colourable exercise by authorities. The petition, filed through advocate Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi, claimed that such an "abrupt, opaque and completely arbitrary" decision to dismantle an almost four-decade-old institution and scavenge its assets and funds is bound to have an adverse impact on the lives of a number of students, schools and NGOs.