Centre’s somersault on status politically inspired, AMU tells SC

New Delhi: The Aligarh Muslim University has described as “politically inspired” the Narendra Modi government’s decision to withdraw the 2006 appeal challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict that the university was not a minority institution.

The appeal was filed by the then United Progressive Alliance government against the 2006 High Court order that struck down an 1981 amendment to the Aligarh Muslim University Act, 1920, which said the institution was established by the Muslims and thereby permitting 50 per cent reservation for the community in the university.

The said amendment had sought to erase a 1967 judgement by a Constitution Bench of the apex court in the Azeez Basha case, wherein it had said that AMU was not a minority institution.

AMU’s latest contention was made in an affidavit filed last week in the top court, which was made available on Tuesday.

The university assailed the Centre’s June 30 affidavit, whereby it conveyed to the top court its decision to withdraw its 2006 appeal against the High Court verdict.

The AMU affidavit said: “The decision taken after a change of government at the Centre by the present NDA government led by a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party does not appear to be a sound decision based on cogent and valid reasons, but one based on political considerations.”

It said: “It is well settled that a decision taken at the governmental level will not be nullified by a change of government after another political party assumes power, particularly when such a decision affects the interest of the nation as a whole.”

The AMU referred to earlier Supreme Court judgements in support of its contention.

On the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government’s U-turn on the 2006 decision of its predecessor, AMU said: “In any event, this is nothing but a deliberate dereliction of constitutional duty on the part of the union government.”

In 2006, the Allahabad High Court struck down the 1981 amendment to the AMU Act, 1920, and said that it was wrong as the same was done to nullify the apex court’s verdict of 1967.

It further said that since the AMU was established by an act of Parliament, therefore, it could not be a minority institution.