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AMU not a minority institution: HC
Upholds striking down of 50 pc quota
Tribune News Service & UNI

Lucknow, January 5
The Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court today upheld with some modifications its last year’s single-judge Bench judgment terming as ‘unconstitutional the granting of minority status to the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and 50 per cent reservation to Muslims.

The order was passed by the Bench comprising Chief Justice A. N. Ray and
Mr Justice Ashok Bhushan on petitions filed by the Central Government and the AMU challenging the single-Judge verdict on October 4, 2005.

It observed that the five-judge Supreme Court Bench, in the Aziz Basha case in 1968, had already taken the view that the AMU was not a minority institution and the enactment of a law by Parliament could not overrule the judgment.

In his judgment on October 4, 2005, Mr Justice Arun Tandon had observed that the AMU Amendment Act was unconstitutional and the AMU was not a minority institution. He had declared that the notification issued by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry on February 25, 2005, permitting the AMU to reserve seats for Muslims in post-graduate medical courses and the 50 per cent quota approved by the AMU Academic Council in the PG medical courses, were, therefore, ‘illegal’.

The amendment made by the AMU for 50 per cent reservation to Muslim students was also struck down by the court. Modifying the earlier judgment, the Bench today held students who had already secured admission in PG courses would not be disturbed.

The judges maintained that admission to the AMU for 2006-07 sessions should be on a free basis as it was being done earlier.

The court also rejected the permission sought by the Centre as well as the AMU to file an appeal against this judgment in the Supreme Court. The judges refused to grant stay of the judgment as prayed by the counsels for the varsity and the centre.

Following the decision AMU Vice-Chancellor Naseem Ahmad had met the 77 postgraduate students of the medical sciences faculty directly affected by the order. He had assured them that their future would not be affected.

Observers feel that today’s decision on the joint plea by the Central Government and the AMU has opened the way for either taking the matter to the apex court or bringing in a comprehensive central legislation.

Meanwhile, the AMU official spokesperson said that the university was awaiting a copy of the judgment for deciding its future course of action.

Terming the controversy as the result of a “race for ascendancy between Parliament and the judiciary, the spokesperson said that refusing to take cognizance of the 1981 AMU Amendment Act the High Court had “come to the conclusion that Parliament, which represents the sovereign will of people of India, was incompetent”.


Verdict no setback to Centre: Arjun

New Delhi, January 5
In a guarded reaction to the Allahabad High Court order upholding its earlier verdict quashing minority status to Aligarh Muslim University, Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh said today the judgment had not come as a “setback” to the Centre.

“No decision can be a setback. It’s the court’s right and it has given its decision. We will decide what should be done,“ Mr Arjun Singh told reporters here.

He said he would first like to study the judgment and then decide the next course of action. “Let’s examine the judgment and then decide.” Asked if there were any options, he said, “You all know the options. You tell me what to do”. — PTI

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