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AMU Minority Status: Legal Dispute Unraveled



  Jan 12, 2024

AMU Minority Status Dispute



What is the current status of the AMU case in the Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court is currently hearing the Aligarh Muslim University’s (AMU) challenge to the 2006 Allahabad High Court ruling that denied it minority status. This case is revisiting the 1967 ruling that AMU is not a minority institution, led by a seven-judge bench including the Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud.

What is the historical background of AMU’s claim?

AMU was founded as Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875 and became a university through the 1920 Act. Changes to its governance structure and constitutional alignment led to disputes over its status, culminating in the 1967 Basha case where the Supreme Court ruled it was not established by Muslims and hence not a minority institution.

What does Article 30 of the Constitution say?

Article 30 grants minorities the right to establish and administer educational institutions. Its subsection (2) prohibits the government from discriminating against minority institutions based on religion or language.

How does the Solicitor General of India view the case?

The Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, contends that there are no distinctive signs or criteria for minority institutions in India. He argues against AMU’s claim, referencing the Basha case to assert that the university is not a minority institution.

What was the impact of the 1967 Basha ruling?

The Basha ruling led to protests, prompting the 1981 amendment which redefined ‘University’ under the act as an institution established by Muslims, which the High Court nullified in 2006.

What is the 1981 amendment and its significance?

The 1981 amendment redefined AMU as an institution established by Muslims and gave it the power to promote Muslim education and culture.

What led to the Supreme Court’s 2019 referral of the case to a seven-judge bench?

A three-judge bench led by then CJI Ranjan Gogoi referred the case to a seven-judge bench due to its complex historical background and the need for a larger bench to decide on the matter.

What is at stake in the Supreme Court’s decision?

The Supreme Court’s decision will determine whether AMU can claim minority status, which affects its autonomy in administration and its ability to implement reservation policies for Muslim students.

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