Indian Supreme Court verdict: AMU to remain a minority institution

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Supreme Court of India has said that the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) will remain a minority institution and that its character will not change, but refused to stay, till the pendency of the matter, the Allahabad High Court’s verdict striking down the 50% quota for students belonging to the minority community. Justice K. G. Balakrishnan headed the bench. The next hearing will be on May 10, 2006.

The court referred the matter to the chief justice for allocating it to a larger bench. The Aligarh Muslim University hailed the SC’s interim order on the institution’s minority character as a “major victory” and said the issue of granting 50% reservation to Muslims would be held in abeyance till a final verdict.

Earlier this month, AMU had moved the Supreme Court challenging the Allahabad High Court’s verdict, which had put down the minority status of the institution. The appeal to Supreme Court challenging the High Court verdict that AMU was not a minority institution entitled to protection under Article 30 (1) of the Constitution.

The Allahabad High Court on January 5 had struck down the provision of the Aligarh Muslim University Amendment Act, 1981, by which the status of a minority institution was accorded to AMU. It had also quashed the 50 per cent quotas for Muslim students. By doing so, it had upheld its last year’s judgement, terming as unconstitutional the minority status of the university and 50 per cent reservation for the Muslim students . The division bench referred to the SC judgement in the Ajeez Basha case of 1968, which had already taken the view that AMU was not a minority institution and any enactment of a law by Parliament could not overrule the judgement.

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