AMU Minority Status | Arguments Matrix

AMU Minority Status

Judges: D.Y. Chandrachud CJI, Sanjiv Khanna J, Surya Kant J, J.B. Pardiwala J, Dipankar Datta J, Manoj Misra J, S.C. Sharma J

On 1 February 2024, a Constitution Bench reserved judgement in the minority status case of Aligarh Muslim University. The Court was tasked with deciding whether AMU is eligible to be a minority institution under Article 30 of the Constitution of India. Article 30 states that religious and linguistic minorities have the right to “establish and administer” educational institutions. 

The correctness of the 1967 judgement in Azeez Basha v Union of India (1967), was at the centre of the hearings. In Azeez Basha, a five-judge Constitution Bench held that AMU does not have a minority status. AMU, it held, was not established by the Muslim community but incorporated by an imperial era legislation i.e. the Aligarh Muslim University Act, 1920. However, Azeez Basha also acknowledged that the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College, before it was converted to AMU, was founded by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan for the Muslim community.  

After Azeez Basha, Parliament passed the Aligarh Muslim University (Amendment) Act, 1981 which stated that AMU was “established by the Muslims of India.” The amendment was an effort to acknowledge the role of the Muslim community in the founding of AMU. In 2005, the Allahabad High Court struck down the 1981 amendment for being inconsistent with Azeez Basha. 

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