Home » AMU’s Ongoing Legal Saga: A 57-Year Dispute Explained

AMU’s Ongoing Legal Saga: A 57-Year Dispute Explained

by Ayushi Veda
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The long-standing legal dispute over the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has been a contentious issue for nearly 57 years, with multiple adjudications by various courts adding complexity to the matter.

The origins of the dispute can be traced back to a legal battle that began in 1967 when the question of AMU’s minority status was first raised. The primary contention revolves around whether AMU should be recognized as a minority educational institution.

The issue gained momentum when an amendment to the AMU Act in 1981 sought to withdraw the university’s minority status. However, the Supreme Court, in its 1981 judgment in the Azeez Basha case, held that AMU was not a minority institution but rather a ‘distinct’ minority within the meaning of Article 30 of the Constitution.

In 2005, the Supreme Court revisited the matter in the R. Pai Foundation case and ruled that AMU was not a minority institution, emphasizing that the 1981 judgment was not correctly decided. This decision sparked debates and further legal battles. Subsequently, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) in 2006 declared AMU a religious minority institution, a decision challenged by several groups. In 2016, the Allahabad High Court ruled that AMU was not a minority institution, contradicting the NCMEI’s decision.

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The legal intricacies persisted, leading to the Supreme Court’s involvement in 2019. The apex court decided to refer the matter to a larger bench to reconsider the questions related to the minority character of AMU. As the legal saga continues, the dispute over AMU’s minority status remains a complex and sensitive issue. The differing judgments from various courts have only added layers of complexity to the matter, raising questions about the interpretation of constitutional provisions related to minority educational institutions.

The ongoing legal battle underscores the need for a definitive resolution to provide clarity on AMU’s minority character. Until then, the university and stakeholders will navigate a legal landscape marked by decades of litigation and varying judicial pronouncements.

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