Congress government in 1981 attempted to make AMU a minority institution: Solicitor general Tushar Mehta – Times of India

Congress government in 1981 attempted to make AMU a minority institution: Solicitor general Tushar Mehta - Times of India

NEW DELHI: Solicitor general Tushar Mehta on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that even Indira Gandhi government which amended the Aligarh Muslim University Act 1n 1981 to fulfil Congress party’s poll promise and which distorted the recorded history in order to show that the university had been established by Muslims, had refused to handover administration of the institution to the minority community.
Resuming arguments before a bench of CJI D The Chandrachudand Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Surya KantJ B Pardiwala, Dipankar Datta, Manoj Misra and Satish C Shamra, Mehta said it is a fact that Parliament, without removing the basis of SC’s 1967 judgment in Azeez Basha case terming AMU as a non-minority institution, had amended the AMU Act, 1920, to acknowledge the claim that it establishment by Muslims.
This fulfilled the criterion that for an institution to be recognized as a minority education institution it must be shown to have been established and administered by the minority community in question However, Mehta pointed that then education minister Sheila Kaul had categorically rejected requests from MPs in Parliament for transferring AMU’s administration to the Muslims. Hence, AMU has continued to be administered since 1920 as an per the Act and not by the minority community, he said.
The SG said till 1981, everyone, including two eminent education ministers in the central government – M C Chagla and Nurul Hasan – had made repeated categorical assertions, in 1965 and 1972 respectively, in Parliament that AMU is an institution of national importance and not a minority institution under Article 30(1) of the Constitution.
The consequences of conferring minority status on AMU, brushing aside the purpose and purport of its establishment and the considered uniform understanding of its character by successive governments, could be destructive of the aim and object of framers of the Constitution who regarded AMU as an institution of national importance.
Mehta said the court could consider examining the issue from the social justice point of view. “All institutions of national importance are open to admitting students from the marginalized and poor communities by providing reservation in admissions for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, socially and educationally backward classes and economically weaker sections.
“AMU is one of the finest universities and receives a central grant of over Rs 1,000 crore annually. It would be ironic that upon grant of minority status such an institution of national importance would not admit students from SC, ST, OBCs and EWS categories and provide reservation for Muslim students,” he said.
If the stand of AMU is accepted, then unlike other central universities, it would not be required to provide reservation to SC, ST, OBCS and EWS category of students and would provide 50% or more reservation to the Muslim students, Mehta said, adding, “a large national institute like AMU ought to maintain its secular origins and serve the larger interest of the nation first.
The SG said, “All stakeholders involved in the establishment of AMU – from the Imperial Government, the local population and the partial role played by the minority community – leads to an irresistible conclusion that the aim, object and intent behind AMU always was to establish an institution of national importance and not an institution for Muslims.”

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