SC reserves judgement on grant of Minority Status to Aligarh Muslim University

New Delhi, Feb 1 (UNI) The Supreme Court after the 8 days of hearing, reserved its judgement on Thursday on the issue of minority status to Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

A Seven-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Surya Kant, Justice JB Pardiwala, Justice Dipankar Datta, Justice Manoj Misra and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma after hearing the arguments from all the parties concluded the hearing and reserved its judgement.

The bench has to resolve the issue of whether an educational institution has Minority Status under Article 30 of the Constitution and whether a centrally-funded university established by parliamentary statute can be designated as a minority institution.

The bench was hearing a reference arising out of the 2006 verdict of the Allahabad High Court which held that AMU was not a minority institution.

In 2019, a 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court referred the issue to a 7-judge bench. One of the issues which arise in the case is whether a University, established and governed by a statute (AMU Act 1920), can claim minority status. The correctness of the 1967 judgment of the Supreme Court in S. Azeez Basha vs. Union of India (5-judge bench) which rejected the minority status of AMU and the 1981 amendment to the AMU Act, which accorded minority status to the University.

Senior Advocates Dr Rajeev Dhavan, and Mr Kapil Sibal representing AMU and the AMU Old Boys’ Association, presented their arguments. Senior Advocate Mr Salman Khurshid, Mr Shadan Farasat who appeared on behalf of intervenors.

The Union of India was represented by the Attorney General Mr R Venkataramani as well as the Solicitor General Mr Tushar Mehta.

Several other senior advocates including Mr Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Mr Guru Krishna Kumar, Mr Vinay Navare, Mr Yatinder Singh, Mr Vikramjit Banerjee (ASG) and Mr KM Nataraj ((ASG) also appeared to advance arguments on behalf of respondents and intervenors.

Throughout the 8-day long hearings, several key aspects of deliberation were put before the bench ranging from the interpretation of Article 30 of the Indian Constitution, its interplay with Entry 63 of List 1, the legislative history of AMU, and analysis of the various Amendment Acts from 1951 up to 1981 undertaken to the original 1920 AMU Act.

Questions like AMU continued as an Institution of National importance, why Minority status is important? not merely an enabling provision, It’s an obligation on the state Supreme Court said, AMU surrendered their rights to the British, the Centre contended.

The political inclination of founders was Immaterial for Minority Status, the Top Court said and other issues were discussed during the eight-day-long hearings.

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