Minority Institutions: Rights or Privilege?

‘AMU is not a Minority Institution,’ says the Modi government to the SC

Showing its true colours on issues related to minority rights, the Central government dominated by the supremacist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) has opposed the minority status of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). In a complete turnaround from the earlier Central government, under UPA I and II, that had challenged a judgement of the Allahabad high court reversing AMU's minority status, the Modi government has withdrawn its name as one of the petitioners challenging the 2005 Allahabad high court verdict.[1] The Supreme Court had stayed implementation of the high court judgement in 2006.

Making the submission in the Supreme Court, attorney general, Mukul Rohatgi said, “It is the stand of the Union of India that AMU is not a minority university. As the executive Government at the Centre, we can’t be seen as setting up a minority institution in a secular state.” He was referring to the Aligarh Muslim University Act, 1920 that was subsequently amended by Parliament twice in 1951 and 1981. The stand came as a surprise to the three member bench consisting of Justices JS Khehar, MY Eqbal and C Nagappan who pointed out that this stand of the Centre was contrary to what was filed previously by the Centre before this court and the Allahabad HC. Justice Eqbal asked, “With the change in Government, can you change your stand?” The Bench has asked Rohatgi to file an affidavit in this regard and posted the case for hearing next on April 4, 2016.

Communalism Combat has been analysing and tracking the issue of the minority status of the AMU for the past decade. We bring you some of our archival issues that trace the background of establishment of this institution as also the erosions in certain principles that require rectification.

Advocate Mihir Desai author of a book on the subject [2] analysed for us the grave fallacies in the verdict of the Allahabad high court. Faizan Musatafa, then registrar of the AMU too argued how the judgement was bad in law. CC brought to its readers a critical dimension to the issue when we investigated and found that communal reservations at Aligarh Muslim University have struck at the very character and repute of the institution. Noted scholar Asghar Ali Engineer argued that while the Aligarh Muslim University is, without doubt, a minority institution, it must allow reservations for Backward Caste Muslims.

We bring to our readers the various dimensions of the issue that has a crucial bearing on minority rights within a democracy.

Links to 2005 Communalism Combat issues archived here

  1.  The Case of the Aligarh Muslim University, 2005 : Alas, Your Lordships!
  2.  Minority Institutions: Rights or Privilege?
  3. Wong in Law 
  4. No to Communal Reservations
  5. Flawed Judgement


[1] Modi govt opposes minority character of AMU in Supreme Court, http://muslimmirror.com/eng/modi-govt-opposes-minority-character-of-amu/
[2] Minority educational institutions and law, 1996, Mihir Desai, Akshar Prakashan



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