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Minority tag off AMU

A division bench of the Allahabad High Court has affirmed last October's judgment by a single judge of the court, holding that Aligarh Muslim University is not a minority institution.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 00:02 IST

A divisionbench of the Allahabad High Court has affirmed last October's judgment by a single judge of the court, holding that Aligarh Muslim University is not a minority institution. The single judge had also quashed an HRD Ministry notification (dated February 25, 2005) permitting AMU to reserve 50 per cent seats for Muslim students in admissions.

The division bench on Thursday said the students who had been given admissions earlier under the quota system and who were studying at AMU would continue to do so. But the court made it clear that from 2006-07, admissions at AMU will be "free to all".

The bench — comprising Chief Justice A.N. Ray and Justice Ashok Bhushan — struck down sections 2(L) and 5(2)(C) of the Aligarh Muslim University (Amendment) Act 1981 which granted minority institution status to the university. The court said the sections were ultra vires to the Constitution.

The bench was of the view that the Supreme Court had already -- in the Azeez Basha case (1968) -- taken the view that AMU was not a minority institution and enactment of a law by Parliament could not overrule the judgment. In the Azeez Basha case, the Supreme Court had said AMU was not a minority institution as it had been created by an act of central legislature. Parliament had later passed the AMU Amendment Act 1981.

The high court passed the judgment on special appeals filed by the HRD Ministry and AMU. In these, the ministry and AMU had challenged the verdict given by the single judge in October, declaring that AMU was not a minority institution.

In Aligarh, there were mixed reactions to the judgment. Shireen Moosvi former dean, faculty of social science, said she was opposed to religion-based reservations from the very beginning. Even if the law allows AMU to do so, university authorities should not impose the new reservation policy, she said.

Professor K.P. Singh, Hindi author and former dean, faculty of arts, said the planned communal reservation would inject an intolerable amount of discrimination on the ground of faith alone among AMU's own students whenever they seek admission to higher courses in their own university.

Dr Rizan Khan, secretary, AMU Teaching Association, said the Allahabad HC verdict was not final and AMU would now approach the Supreme Court for justice.

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 00:02 IST