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HomeLawSupreme Court reserves verdict on minority status of Aligarh Muslim University

Supreme Court reserves verdict on minority status of Aligarh Muslim University

Hearing today

The Court today heard rejoinder submissions by counsel defending the minority status of AMU (petitioner-side).

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan spoke of the Muslim representation in the management of AMU including in its academic council.

However, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal also appearing for the petitioners added that the number of Muslims in AMU’s executive and academic bodies is irrelevant when it comes to deciding the minority status of the institution.

“This whole numerical argument is irrelevant. What kind of tests are we applying, never before in history. That is why they (Centre) have no judgments (in their favour),Sibal said.

He argued that it is wrong to hold that Muslims or Christians (or a minority community) have to run an institute for it to be deemed a minority one. There may not always be enough educated minority community members at that level to fill all such posts, he explained.

“Should we apply a test that will destroy the entire minority educational structure in this country? That is why I said I have a right, not a duty to administer. And I can cede and challenge when I want to. No court has held otherwise. Numerical strength can never be an issue … Where do you get the proposition that an institute for a minority has to only be administered by the minority? Please do not apply a test that is Constitutionally suspect,” Sibal said.

Sibal went on to assert that from 1950 onwards, the AMU has been serving the needs of the minority community, as both a de jure (by law) and de facto (in fact) minority institute.

“Sir Syed and everybody else did not think of the establishment (of AMU) in a statutory sense. They were very clear while founding the institution that government supervision may be there but no government control. This was clear since the very beginning. Just saying that the founders were loyal to the Britishers does not dilute this aspect; some wanted social change. If at all, this argument is just communal,” Sibal submitted.

The senior counsel further argued that the secular structure of the country cannot be discarded by challenging the minority status of AMU.

“One small citadel of learning in a country of 1.4 billion people – what are you trying to do? In a secular country wedded to plurality and the Constitution, here we are arguing that we should take away the minority status. Let me just say that if this happens then it will be a sad day for the country, that is all,” he said in conclusion.

Source: Barandbench

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