All hurdles in the way of setting up of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) centre at Kishanganj have been cleared with the Union ministry of law and justice giving the go ahead for its establishment at the earliest.
Union law minister Salman Khurshid on September 26 gave the go ahead in a letter to Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal.
The approval of President, who is also the Visitor of the AMU, was delayed as the Union law ministry had advised against proceeding further with the establishment of the AMU centre in the light of the special leave petition (SLP) pending before the Supreme Court.
The President’s secretariat had asked the Union HRD ministry to seek the opinion of the law ministry whether to proceed further without awaiting SC directions.
Soon after the Union law ministry put it on hold, several representations were submitted by people’s representatives, including Kishanganj MP Asrarul Haque. “In view of that I asked for the judgments of Kerala High Court and Allahabad High Court as well as the Supreme Court proceedings along with the HRD file. On reflection, I believe, it is not appropriate to overlook the fact that two centres have already been established at Mallapuram and Murshidabad,” Khurshid said in the letter.
He said the delay in case of the Kishanganj study centre was primarily caused by suitable land not being offered. “Now that the land issue is resolved and the local people are anxious that their aspiration for good education be addressed, it is fair and correct to proceed with the campus. Besides the wholesome impact, it will also prevent unnecessary political bickering at our cost,” he said.
Khurshid said a part of the AMU community was opposed to the establishment of these centres because it was unclear to them as to how the de facto minority character would be preserved while the de jure status remained to be decided by the constitution bench of the Supreme Court.
“Sometimes this aspect is linked with the concern about dilution of residential character of the AMU. All these matters have to be sorted out separately and need not cause us to make a departure from the position we have taken regarding the earlier two centres,” he said.
Sources said the Union HRD ministry would now send a recommendation to President’s secretariat for approval after reviewing the Union law ministry’s clearance. Once the President’s approval comes, the AMU Kishanganj centre would be granted Rs. 25 crore to Rs. 50 crore for construction work. The Bihar government has already handed over 224 acres of land to the AMU authorities in December last.
The decision of the Union law ministry has been hailed by many, including the Human Chain, a Delhi based society espousing the cause of the AMU Kishanganj for the past three years. “This is a landmark decision and we are highly thankful to Salman Khurshid for resolving the legal tangle. It will provide fresh hope to highly conscious people of Seemanchal and education lovers of Bihar,” said Mohammad Mudassir Alam of Human Chain.