Supreme Court reserves verdict on minority status of Aligarh Muslim University [1.2.2024]

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), after days of heated debate.

A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud heard the arguments put forth by the rival sides over eight days.

The bench also comprises justices Sanjiv Khanna, Surya Kant, J B Pardiwala, Dipankar Datta, Manoj Misra and Satish Chandra Sharma.

The issue of AMU's minority status has been caught in a legal maze for the last several decades.

The top court had on February 12, 2019 referred to a seven-judge bench the contentious issue. A similar reference was also made in 1981.

A five-judge constitution bench had in the S Azeez Basha versus Union of India case in 1967 held that since AMU was a central university, it cannot be considered a minority institution.

However, the fabled institution got back its minority status when Parliament passed the AMU (Amendment) Act in 1981.

In January 2006, the Allahabad High Court struck down the provision of the 1981 law by which the university was accorded the minority status.

The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre moved in appeal against the Allahabad High Court order. The university also filed a separate petition against it.

The NDA government spearheaded by the BJP told the Supreme Court in 2016 that it will withdraw the appeal filed by the erstwhile UPA dispensation.

It had cited the apex court's 1967 judgement in the Basha case to claim that AMU was not a minority institution since it was a central university funded by the government.

02 Feb 2024