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SC reserves its verdict on the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      02 February, 2024 02:33 PM      0 Comments
SC reserves its verdict on the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgment on a batch of petitions seeking minority status for the Aligarh Muslim University after eight days of marathon hearing.

A Constitution bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Surya Kant, J B Pardiwala, Dipankar Datta, Manoj Misra and Satish Chandra Sharma heard the petition filed by AMU and others.

In February, 2019, the Supreme Court had referred to a seven-judge bench the contentious issue. A similar reference was also made in 1981. In 1967, a five-judge constitution bench in S Azeez Basha versus Union of India case held that since AMU was a central university, it cannot be considered a minority institution. In 1981, its minority status was restored when Parliament passed the AMU (Amendment) Act in 1981. In January 2006, the Allahabad High Court struck down the provision of the 1981 law by which the university was accorded the minority status.

The Congress-led UPA government and AMU challenged the Allahabad High Court order. In 2016, the NDA government, however, told the Supreme Court that it will withdraw the appeal filed by the previous government.

The Union government was led by Attorney General R Venkatramani, and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor Generals Vikramjit Banerjee and K M Nataraj. Senior advocates Rakesh Dwivedi, Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Guru Krishna Kumar, Vinay Navare, Yatindra Singh also argued in the matter.

In rejoinder arguments, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan made submissions regarding the Muslim representation on the management of AMU including in its academic council.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal for AMU Old Boys Association submitted that it is not relevant to consider how many Muslims are on AMU's executive and academic bodies, while deciding the minority status of the institution.

He claimed that the secular structure of the country cannot be discarded by challenging the minority status of AMU.



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