A division bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday stayed the judgment of a single-judge bench passed a day earlier, which said Muslims were no longer a religious minority in Uttar Pradesh.
The stay order came after the preliminary hearing of a special appeal filed by the state government, challenging the ruling of Justice SN Srivastava. The division bench of justices SR Alam and Krishna Murari fixed May 14 as the next date for hearing the appeal.
Justice Srivastava had ordered the state government to treat Muslims no differently from those belonging to the non-minority communities. The ruling, which could have far-reaching social and political ramifications, had drawn angry reactions from the Muslim community and political parties.
In its appeal, the state government said: “With profound respect, it is submitted that the judgment of the single judge reflects that the same has been passed with the pre-conceived mind and pre-determined notion.”
Appearing on behalf of the government, Advocate General SMA Kazmi argued that on March 21, a division bench had stayed a similar, earlier order of the same judge, which sought a definition of the term ‘minority’ and discussed other matters related to minorities. The judge was informed about the stay on March 26. Thus, there was no reason for the judge to pass the order he did on Thursday on the issue of minority status, argued Kazmi.
He also contended that unless a question comes up before a court during hearings, it cannot be adjudicated upon. In this case, the judge gave the ruling on a petition of a Ghazipur madrasa on its non-inclusion in the grant-in-aid list. There was no issue of minority status involved, Kazmi added.