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AMU’s minority character: SC Bench grants 4 weeks to AMU

New Delhi: The question of AMU’s minority character was taken up for hearing in Supreme Court on 11 July. Earlier, on 6 July central government through Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had filed an affidavit stating that AMU is not a minority (educational) institution and that the petition filed earlier by the previous UPA government, challenging Allahabad High Court’s verdict many years ago to the effect that AMU is not a minority institution, UPA government’(UPA government’s petition staring that AMU is a minority educational institution and which is pending in the Supreme Court ever since) is now being withdrawn by the present government. As stated above, after NDA government’s withdrawing the affidavit / petition filed on 6 July this case was taken up by Supreme Court on 11 July. In this hearing of the case (on 11 July) by the Supreme Court Bench of Justices J. S. Khehar, Gopal Gaud and Rajeshwar Rao, AMU administration through its lawyer P. P. Rao asked the apex Court Bench for time to study the petition / affidavit filed by the BJP-led central government and to prepare its reply, the SC Bench granted 4 weeks time to furnish its reply. AMU’s Advocates Z. K. Faizan and Mushtaq Ahmad said that Supreme Court’s senior advocate P. P. Rao along with some other advocates and University authorities are preparing its reply which will be filed in the Court on the next hearing.

Advocate Faizan explained that Allahabad High Court’s two-judge Bench had rejected Aziz Pasha’s petition (which was in favour of AMU’s minority character / status) and had directed that this verdict be enforced. He further said that against this verdict of Allahabad High Court (rejecting AMU’s minority status), as many as 8 parties had filed petitions in course of time. Of these, 5 petitions were filed by AMU, one by AMU Old Boys, one by one Qureshi and by the previous UPA government, stating that AMU is a minority institution and hence it should get minority status / character. Expressing his views on the affidavit filed by the present central government, after withdrawing the earlier affidavit filed by the UPA government, Faizan said that there is nothing new in this affidavit but has simply been reiterated what the Allahabad High Court had stated in its verdict.

Another advocate of AMU Mushtaq Ahmad said that now that we have been given 4 weeks time to prepare our reply, it is being prepared by senior lawyers and University authorities. He expressed his hope that University's minority character would be restored. Commenting on the present government’s affidavit declaring that AMU is not a minority institution, Faizan said that it is good that by this attitude, the optimism and vain hopes of those people and delegations have been removed who in droves were meeting the prime minister and other ministers to gain their favour and also for their own publicity. He said that this government is working with a particular mentality and in accordance with an organised and pre-determined plan but it is a different matter that we have strong arguments and we will succeed.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2016 on page no. 15

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