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AMU row: ‘Nothing political’ in withdrawing plea in SC, says attorney general

india Updated: Jul 09, 2016 20:01 IST

A file photo of the Aligarh Muslim University.(HT file)

There is “nothing political” about NDA government’s decision to withdraw an appeal filed by the erstwhile UPA government challenging the Allahabad high court verdict holding that AMU is not a minority institution, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi has said.

“I must tell you that there is nothing political about it. The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was set up by an Act of the Parliament when India was not free. It was under British rule. Therefore, it is not correct to say that it was set up by Muslims.

“There is a judgement of the Supreme Court of (October 20 1967) of a bench of five-judges declaring that the AMU was not a minority institution and that legal position still holds,” Rohatgi told a television news channel.

The top law officer was responding to a query posed by the India Today news channel with regard to reasons for filing the affidavit on behalf of the Centre for withdrawing its appeal against the high court verdict. Government had told the Supreme Court a few days ago that it will withdraw the appeal filed by the erstwhile UPA government in this regard.

Read: Centre withdraws UPA-era plea, AMU could lose minority tag

Rohatgi said there was an attempt in the “1980s to try and reverse” the position of AMU by way of an amendment.

“That amendment was not enough to overturn the view (of the Supreme Court). That amendment was challenged in the high court. The HC has struck down the amendment saying that 1967 judgement is still binding.

“The AMU has also filed a petition challenging the verdict of the HC. They are entitled to carry on with their appeal and contend that it is a minority institution, but I have already told you that the Supreme Court has already held 50 years ago that it is not a minority institution. So that issue will be again decided by the Supreme Court in this appeal,” he said.

Read: Aligarh Muslim University is facing a minority test

Besides the Centre, the varsity administration had also filed a separate plea challenging the high court verdict on the matter.