The NDA government’s decision to withdraw Aligarh Muslim University’s “minority status” is politically motivated, the institution told the Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing that a mere change of regime at the Centre cannot be the grounds for a decision affecting community members across the country.
“The decision taken after the change of government at the Centre by the present NDA government, led by a member of the BJP, does not appear to be a sound decision based on cogent and valid reasons, but one based on political considerations,” read AMU’s affidavit.
It was in response to the Centre’s decision to withdraw the previous UPA government’s appeal against a 2005 Allahabad HC verdict striking down AMU’s minority status.
“The AMU is the oldest Muslim university in the country. Its minority character means a lot to all Muslims,” the varsity said.
The AMU row is a political issue in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, where Muslims make up around 18% of voters. The BJP is seeking to project it as an example of Muslim appeasement at the cost of scheduled castes, tribes and backward classes — the publicly-funded varsity does not offer them quotas while reserving 50% seats for Muslims.
Defending its move, the government has said a 1981 law giving AMU minority status was erroneous as it was enacted to circumvent a constitution bench judgment that declared AMU a central varsity — which meant it could not be a minority institute.
Urging the Supreme Court not to allow the Centre to withdraw the UPA-era appeal, AMU said such a move would go against parliamentary democracy.