The central government has decided to withdraw an earlier appeal seeking a minority status for Aligarh Muslim University. The erstwhile appeal was filed by the previous UPA government, challenging the Allahabad High Court’s verdict that said, “AMU is not a minority institution.” Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said, “We (government) have filed an affidavit stating that we will withdraw the appeal,” adding that an affidavit in this regard has been filed by the Centre in the apex court.
Apart from the centre, the varsity administration had also filed a separate plea against the High Court verdict asking for the “minority tag.” Rohatgi recalled the 1967 supreme court judgment that said that AMU was set up the government and not by Muslims and this does not entitle it to a minority tag.
“You cannot override the Aziz Basha judgement. Union of India’s stand is that according minority status to AMU would be contrary to the Aziz Basha judgement and it still holds good,” the top law officer had submitted before the bench in April which had permitted the Centre to file an application and an affidavit within eight weeks to withdraw the appeal filed by it.
The Allahabad High Court had in January 2006 struck down the provision of the AMU (Amendment) Act, 1981 by which the University was accorded minority status. Filing an affidavit, Rohtagi said, “We go by the Aziz Basha judgment and therefore we are going to withdraw the appeal” made by the previous UPA government.
The division bench of the High Court had upheld the order of its single judge passed in 2005 by which it termed as “unconstitutional” the granting of minority status to AMU and 50 per cent reservation to Muslims in 2004.