In 2018, a minute hustle surfaced when UP’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath questioned the citizens and the authorities of AMU and Jamia Millia Islamia that why there is no admission reservation for the SCs and STs students as they are not minority institutions.
What started the stir?
The leading government of BJP faces many accusations now and then which is inevitable being one of the biggest political parties of the world. The party was being accused of being oppressive towards the SCs and STs Section of the society.
The controversy started when at a public meeting in Kannauj, Yogi Adityanath surrounded by this accusation raised a question regarding the demand for Dalits to run institutions like the AMU and JMI. He said “one question should be raised to all those who are saying that Dalits are being humiliated...when will they ask for a reservation for our Dalit brothers in AMU and JMU” he also added, “if BHU can give it to Dalits then why not in AMU?”
What is a minority institute?
According to Article 30 of the Constitution of India, minority institutions are those established by the religious or linguistic minority communities of India. Such institutes are allowed to admit students based on their community and the state cannot enforce a reservation policy on them.
Any such institution which is designated the status of a minority institution depends on the communities’ selective strength in that particular state.
What does the university have to say?
Aligarh Muslim University came forwards in its defence and stated that the university is being governed by the AMU Act 1981 which has granted minority status to it and the minority institutions are exempted by Article 15(5) from implementing constitutional reservations.
Is it a minority institution?
The case relating to AMU’s minority status is sub judice in the court. The previous Congress-led UPA government moved a petition in the apex court against the Allahabad High Court judgement which held that AMU is not a minority institution.
The current government, however, withdrew the UPA signed petition filed against the Allahabad High Court order and maintained that AMU is not a minority institution.
Katheria, BJP MP from Agra said that AMU would have to follow the order or NCSC would request the government to stop grants. “We have already questioned funding to AMU as it is not following the quota policy.” He added.
The NCSC chairman said over 30,000 admissions took place every year in AMU and more than 14,000 students from the quota category were denied a place despite an annual allocation to the institution of over Rs 1,100 crore.
He said the HRD ministry and the Minority Commission both confirmed that AMU didn’t have ‘minority institution’ status nor a mandate to deny quota. “In 2005, when Arjun Singh was HRD minister, the ministry had allowed AMU to reserve 50% seats for Muslim candidates, which was stayed by Allahabad High Court next year. However, records show that AMU has reserved seats for Muslim students, which in gross defiance of constitutional norms.” He added.
According to Katheria, AMU was looking forward to the pending case in the Supreme Court, which related to the minority status of the institution and had nothing to do with quota policy. “So far, AMU officials have communicated they have no documents to prove minority institution status.” He said, citing the response of the government affidavit in the Supreme Court in 2016 confirming that AMU was not a minority institution.
Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot had said that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre was trying to restore quota for SCs and STs at Jamia and AMU. He blamed the previous UPA government because of which reservations for Dalits do not apply to these varsities.
“The JMI and AMU are central universities but the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government made them minority institutions. And hence reservation for SC and ST students does not apply there. But these are funded by the central government. Any institution funded or aided by the Central government must have provisions of reservation for SC, ST and OBCs as per the Central government rules. We have presented our side in the Supreme Court and also submitted a change affidavit. Now waiting for apex court’s response," he was reported saying by IANS.
The Central government filed a revised affidavit in the Delhi High Court, opposing an order of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions that declared Jamia Millia Islamia as a religious minority institution.
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