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AMU is a purely minority institution


Once again the issue of AMU’S minority character is knocking the doors of judiciary. It is a crystal clear fact that Aligarh Muslim University was established by the Muslims of India under the sagacious patronage of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. It was by way of gradual development that Sir Syed first started a school called a madrasa then it became MAO college which later on became Aligarh Muslim University in the year 1920.

The character of this great seat of learning, whether a minority institution or not is always being questioned by some fanatic Hindu groups who claim that it is not possible to establish a minority institution in a country which is based on secularism, despite the fact that there is a constitutional guarantee mandate to the minorities whether based on religion or language, under Article 30 of the Indian constitution. The clause (1) provides that minorities shall have a right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice and clause (2) provides that state shall not discriminate while granting aid to educational institutions on the ground that such institution is under the management of minority community. The constitutional guarantee available to the minorities to establish and administer educational institutions is protected and secondly the state is being directed not to discriminate while granting aid to these institutions. The legal position is that state cannot impose any restriction on the right of the minorities to establish and administer educational institutions so long as such institutions are unaided by the state, except to the limited extent that regulations can be made for ensuring excellence in education. The right available under Article 30 is not absolute. The state has power to regulate the administration of the institutions established by the minorities.

For the first time the matter went before the Honorable Supreme Court of India in a case of S. Aziz Basha versus Union of India, AIR 1968 SC 662 in which it was held by a bench headed by Wanchoo J, that AMU is not a minority institution because it was established by the Act of Parliament and it is not true that muslims of India have established this university. Thereafter the congress government at the centre headed by Miss Indira Gandhi brought an amendment to the Aligarh Muslim University Act 1920 in the year 1981 and made their stand clear that AMU is a minority institution. The recent development regarding the minority status of AMU in the apex court has made the writer surprised to assess the stand taken by the learned Attorney General of India. As a student of legal studies I do believe that the said learned legal luminary should have defended the parliament but unfortunately he took the different stand and denied the factual as well as the legal position of AMU.

The Aligarh Muslim University is an institution of  high repute which has contributed lot for the nation building and in particular worked for the advancement and upliftment of the muslims who were educationally and socially considered as backward class community. The AMU along with the JMI are the only two universities in this country which were solely established for this noble cause. The need of the hour is that the government should take constructive measures in order to protect these institutions from any kind of interference which in long run will benefit the secular fabric of this nation. The Hon’ble supreme court must take into consideration the intention of the parliament which has upheld the character of AMU.Changing of central government does not mean that AMU has lost its character rather the government at present should make their stand clear and uphold the promise “sabka ka saath sab ka vikaas”. It is the gross violation of natural justice to decide a case without hearing the necessary party. The basic rule is “Audi alteram partem” which was absolutely discarded by the apex court in 1967.

Now the matter is sub judice and Let us hope that the apex court will upheld the validity of minority character of Muslim university.