M A I N   N E W S

AMU to move Apex Court against High Court order
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, October 5
With the Allahabad High Court verdict quashing the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), the minority card once again appeared like a trump card for the major political parties.

While the response on the university campus remained relatively restrained, the shrill reaction in Lucknow indicated that the issue would generate more heat in the days to come.

After meeting a cross section of students, teachers and administrative staff, Vice-Chancellor Naseem Ahmad decided to take up the issue in the apex court after going through the high court verdict.

However, the Urban Development Minister and former student leader, Mohammad Azam Khan, in his distinctive style urged university students to take to the streets to protest against the withdrawal of the constitutional guarantee for minority rights.

Calling it a failure of the Congress government in the Centre, Mr Khan charged the Union HRD Minister, Mr Arjun Singh, of creating complications by getting his ministry to issue a notification on February 25, permitting the university to fix quota for Muslims students in postgraduate medical courses.

The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr Salman Khurshid, wondered why Mr Khan bothered more about the working of Mr Arjun Singh’s ministry than his own. Refusing to comment without reading the verdict, he, however, lashed out at the Samajwadi Party for trying to gain political mileage.

Admitting that the question of university’s minority character had not been comprehensively addressed till now, he pointed out that yesterday’s judgment had simply upheld the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Aziz Basha case of 1968 in which it had ruled that the university was not an institution established by minority community as it was established by the Central legislature.

Admitting that “probably Mr Arjun Singh’s notification did have some technical deficiency”, he said the matter was for the court to decide as he was sure the university would take the matter to the apex court for review.

The Vice-Chancellor also met the 77 postgraduate students of the medical sciences faculty directly affected by the quashing of 50 per cent reservation order. He assured them that that their future would not be affected. In a significant verdict, a single judge Bench of Justice Arun Tandon yesterday challenged the Muslim character provided by the Aligarh Muslim University Amendment Act brought by the late Indira Gandhi in 1981.

The order observed that since the Act itself was unconstitutional, the university was not a minority institution. As a result it also struck down the February 25 notification issued by the HRD Ministry permitting the university to fix quotas in postgraduate medical courses.


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