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SC petition stalls AMU Kishanganj campus

An RTI application has revealed that a writ petition (No. 5329/2010) filed by one Jai Narayan Kumar challenging the establishment of an AMU centre at Kishanganj, currently pending in the Supreme Court, is the cause of the two year-long-and-continuing delay in the construction of the Kishanganj centre. The President of India, in his capacity as the Visitor of the university, asked the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development to seek the opinion of the law ministry about whether to proceed without waiting SC directions.

In accordance with the Presidential directive, the HRD ministry referred the matter to the law ministry. As there was no stay in the petition, the HRD ministry asked the law ministry if it is alright to release funds for the proposed centre on the lines of AMU centres already opened at Murshidabad in West Bengal and Mallapuram in Kerala. The law ministry replied that, “It will be advisable to await the outcome of special leave petition pending before the court since it was sub-judice.”

The SC had heard the petition on July 11, 2012 and advised the Petitioner to remove the University Chancellor as one of the Respondents and to send a compliance to the Court by August 16, 2012 for the subsequent hearing. On July 12, 2012 the MHRD wrote to the Law Ministry and asked to send a reply to the Prime Minister’s Office on the legal aspect of issue for delay in approval. The PMO had received the same suggestion from Law Ministry to put a hold on the issue till judgment comes from Supreme Court.

The HRDM also mentioned the provision contained in the AMU Act with regard to establishment of the University centres as per Section 12 (2). It’s under the same Act that the Kerala and West Bengal centres are functioning. It should be noted that the Law Minister Salman Khurshid denied being kept in the loop about correspondence between his ministry and the HRDM regarding the matter, making it clear that the establishment had been kept on hold without the knowledge of the law minister. The Bihar government has allotted 224 acres of land and the HRD has given it’s nod to it, waiting to release the budget. Meanwhile, people in Seemanchal patiently wait for the verdict. The area MP, Maulana Asrarul Haq Qasmi is pressuring the central government not to wait for the SC and release funds so that the building the infrastructure starts. He warned that as there is no activity on the allotted land, people are illegally encroaching on the land.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2012 on page no. 1

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