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Updated January 9th, 2024 at 11:01 IST

Will Minority Status be Restored for Aligarh Muslim University? 7-Judge SC Bench Begins Hearing

A 7-judge Supreme Court Constitution Bench on January 9 will examine whether the 1967 SC stripping AMU of its minority status was correct.

Ronit Singh
Will Minority Status be Restored for Aligarh Muslim University? 7-Judge SC Bench to Examine Today
Will Minority Status be Restored for Aligarh Muslim University? 7-Judge SC Bench to Examine Today | Image:PTI
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New Delhi: A 7-judge Supreme Court Constitution Bench on January 9 started examining whether the 1967 SC stripping Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) of its minority status was correct.

The bench comprise Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud along with Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Surya Kant, J B Pardiwala, Dipankar Datta, Manoj Misra and K V Viswanathan.

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In a plea to the apex court, the century-old University cited historical facts, its emblem, educational curriculum, and appointment of muezzins to claim back the 'minority institution' tag despite coming under the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act. 

A three-judge bench presided by the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi referred the matter to a 7-judge bench on February 12, 2019. 

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The 7-judge bench today will lay down provisions for granting minority status to an educational institution under Article 30 of the Constitution. It will decide whether an educational institution created under a parliamentary statute can be given such status.

While the matter was pending for court's consideration, petitions were moved to Allahabad High Court challenging AMU's decision to reserve seats for Muslims in post-graduate courses. The Allahabad HC had ruled in in 2005 that 'minority institution' tag doesn't belong to AMU. 

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In 2005, the Allahabad HC had ruled that AMU is not a minority institution. AMU and the then UPA government challenged this before the SC. In 2016, the NDA government informed the SC that it is withdrawing the appeal filed by the government.

The Centre during the UPA regime backed the minority status tag for AMU and challenged Allahabad HC judgement before the SC. The NDA government in 2016 withdrew the UPA's affidavit saying AMU was not a minority institution under the UGC. 

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AMU Minority Status: Article 30 of Constitution in Focus

Article 30 of the Constitution enshrines the right for all minority communities, be it on grounds of religion or language, to establish and manage educational institutions according to their preferences. 

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These minority institutions possess the authority to allocate reserved seats for admissions based on religious considerations and are eligible to receive specific financial support from the government.

Article 30(1) additionally specifies that the State, while providing assistance to educational institutions, is prohibited from discriminating against any such institution solely on the basis of being under the management of a minority, whether it be on grounds of religion or language.

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Published January 9th, 2024 at 09:43 IST

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