Aligarh Muslim University Case: Key Legal Facets

  Jan 22, 2024

Aligarh Muslim University Case: Key Legal Facets

Context of the Case

The Supreme Court’s seven-judge bench, led by Chief Justice Dr. DY Chandrachud, reviewed an appeal against the Allahabad High Court’s decision in Naresh Agarwal v. Union of India (2005). The High Court struck down the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)’s 50% seat reservation in postgraduate medical courses for Muslim candidates. The ruling was based on the understanding that AMU is not a minority institution under Article 30 of the Indian Constitution. A minority educational institution has to be set up by the minority and run by them without a legislative act.

Historical Background

S. Azeez Basha v. Union of India (1968): This case questioned the constitutional amendments of 1951 and 1965 to the Aligarh Muslim University Act, 1920. The Supreme Court ruled that AMU, established by an Act of Parliament, does not qualify as a minority institution.
Aligarh Muslim University Amendment Act, 1981: This Act aimed to counter the 1968 Supreme Court decision by redefining ‘University’ to emphasize its establishment by Muslims.

Recent Developments

Naresh Agarwal v. Union of India (2005): Challenged the decision of AMU’s Admission Committee in 2005 to reserve 50% of postgraduate medical course seats for Muslim candidates. The Court maintained that AMU is not a minority institution, hence cannot provide religious-based reservations.
Aligarh Muslim University v. Malay Shukla (2006): Reaffirmed that AMU, being created by an Act of legislature, is not a minority institution.

Current Scenario

The matter was escalated to the Supreme Court’s seven-judge bench for a comprehensive review. The case’s outcome will have significant implications on the interpretation of minority rights and educational autonomy in India.

Key Questions

1. Is AMU a minority institution under Article 30 of the Constitution?

2. Can AMU provide reservations based on religion?


This case is pivotal in defining the scope of minority institutions’ rights and the balance between religious autonomy and secular principles in Indian education.



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