New Delhi: The government’s top law officer, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi clarified to the Supreme Court on Monday that the Centre no longer considers Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) a minority institution.
The clarification came before a bench comprising chief justice T.S. Thakur and U.U. Lalit that was hearing a case challenging the appointment of AMU’s vice chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah.
Petitioner Syed Abrar Ahmed had alleged that the appointment was contrary to the guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan appearing for the petitioner, said that central universities such as AMU are bound by UGC guidelines.
The court is separately hearing an appeal filed by AMU and the Centre against a 2006 Allahabad High Court verdict which said that the university’s minority tag is invalid.
“We have sought time to withdraw the appeal filed against the Allahabad high court judgment. That was filed by the previous (United Progressive Alliance) government. Now the government has taken a conscious decision to not give AMU a minority tag," Rohatgi said.
In January, Union minister of state for human resource development Ram Shankar Katheria said Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University are not minority institutions, days after the attorney general gave a similar opinion to the government on the matter.
The court has allowed the Centre to file an affidavit and withdraw the appeal within six weeks.