UP SC/ST Commission sends AMU notice over quota for Dalits, tribals: Back and forth over institute's 'minority' tag continues

The Uttar Pradesh Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Commission on Wednesday said the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is not a minority institution and issued a notice to the varsity asking it to explain why it does not give reservation to the SC/ST communities.

File image of Aligarh Muslim Univesity. Image courtesy: www.amu.ac.in

File image of Aligarh Muslim Univesity. Image courtesy: www.amu.ac.in

While the AMU claims minority status and does not reserve seats for SC/ST candidates, Uttar Pradesh SC/ST Commission chairman Brij Lal said various Supreme Court and high court directives have established that the AMU is not a minority institution.  "The AMU is not a minority institution," Brij Lal told reporters. "I have issued a notice to the AMU for not giving reservation to the SC/STs." He said that in the notice, the AMU registrar has been asked to reply by 8 August.

The AMU's minority status has been the subject of much controversy. According to a report in Rediff.com, the Allahabad High Court upheld its 2005 judgment terming as 'unconstitutional' the granting of minority status to AMU and 50 percent reservation to Muslims. The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice AN Ray and Justice Ashok Bhushan on petitions filed by the central government and AMU challenging the single-judge verdict on 4 October, 2005, according to the report.

According to a report in The Indian Express, the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government then challenged the Allahabad High Court order in the Supreme Court. However, in 2016, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) withdrew that appeal, with then attorney general Mukul Rohatgi saying there was "nothing political" about the decision.

“I must tell you that there is nothing political about it. The Aligarh Muslim University was set up by an Act of the Parliament when India was not free. It was under British rule. Therefore, it is not correct to say that it was set up by Muslims. There is a judgment of the Supreme Court (20 October, 1967) of a bench of five judges declaring that the AMU was not a minority institution, and that legal position still holds,” Rohatgi told a television news channel, according to the report.

"We have asked as to why SC/ST communities have not been given benefits of reservation. Under what circumstances has it been done? The Supreme Court has not yet passed any order in which the AMU was prevented from providing reservation benefits to SC/STs. In the light of high court and SC directives, it has been established that the AMU is not a minority institution," Lal added.

He said the AMU was like any other central university, and runs on its funds. "Hence, it has to give due reservation." When asked what will be the course of action if the AMU did not reply within the stipulated time, Brij Lal said the "commission will use its power and issue summons to them."

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jul 05, 2018 15:55 PM

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