A history of sorts was created as the state assembly passed the controversial Mohammad Ali Jauhar University (Amendment) Bill 2007 in the absence of opposition on Wednesday. The House was adjourned sine die after holding six sittings since the commencement of its session on January 18, 2007.
As no opposition member was present the amendment bill granting minority institution status to the Jauhar varsity was passed within minutes after Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Azam Khan moved it. There were no shouts and no applause. The mood was sombre. Khan, considered to be the most powerful minister was however in a cheerful mood. Jauhar varsity has been his dream project.
So, the State Government had to stretch the assembly session to pass the bill. There have been only six sittings (including today) of the house since the commencement of its session on January 18. This is after 1957 that the assembly has held its sitting in the midst of elections and adjourned sine die just a few days before the end of its term. In 1962 the assembly however had held its sitting even on the last of its term.
A sombre mood was even reflected in Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's address at the end. "I wanted all members to be present here. Many of them have to appoint counting agents. I wish all the best to those present to those who have not turned up," he said. "I can't say anything about elections. I wish that all of you including the Leader of Opposition win the poll and contribute to take Uttar Pradesh ahead, said CM." "This has been an ideal government. It worked with no prejudice against anybody," said the CM. He also lauded Khan and Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey.
A few minutes before the parting speech and the passing of the amendment bill Khan withdrew the Maulana Mohamamd Ali Jauhar University Bill 2004 that proposed to appoint him pro-chancellor of the university for life. Governor TV Rajeswar had referred the bill to the President.
As the objective of setting up the university has been achieved through Mohammad Ali Jauhar University Act 2005 the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar University Bill 2004 had lost its relevance, he said. On this occasion the Speaker read out the message of President APJ Abdul Kalam asking the assembly to reconsider the bill on three points. The President asked the assembly to make arrangements to appoint the pro-chancellor for five years, categorically mention the duties and powers of pro-chancellor and empower the Vice Chancellor to chair the university's executive council etc.
Significantly the statement of objects and reasons of the Mohammad Ali Jauhar University Bill 2007 states that the bill had brought to declare the university a minority institution, increasing the amount of permanent endowment fund from 10 lakh rupees to Rs 2 crore. It empowers the university to appoint only Muslims on the various posts. Instead of an inquiry officer appointed by the state government the bill provides to appoint an inquiry committee headed by a retired High Court judge with two members, one from the state government and the other from the executive council of the university. The bill further provides that any move to derecognise the university would need a three-fourth majority instead of a two-third majority in two houses of the state legislature.