A seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on Jan 9 started hearing pleas against Aligarh Muslim University's minority character.
During the hearing, Centre told the Supreme Court that AMU can't be a minority institution given its national character.
CJI DY Chandrachud said that the educational institution has to be secular. AMU can admit students from any community, without forcing them.
Article 30 (1) of the Constitution empowers all religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
The legal dispute began in 1967 when the SC reviewed changes made to the AMU Act of 1920.
A provision that said only Muslims could be part of the University Court was removed, allowing non-Muslims to join.
Petitioners argued that Muslims established AMU and so had the right to manage it. SC said AMU was neither established nor administered by Muslims
As per 1920 Act, SC said that AMU was not solely operated by Muslims. Their administration was entrusted to Lord Rector and other statutory bodies.
In 1981, SC questioned the validity of 1968 judgment that removed AMU's minority status. Later, it was reinstated via AMU Amendment Act.
In 2005, AMU implemented a reservation policy, reserving 50% of seats in postgraduate medical courses for Muslim candidates.
The reservation was challenged in the Allahabad High Court. It overturned the reservation and nullified the 1981 Act in the same year.
In 2006, the UPA-led central govt contested the High Court’s decision before the Supreme Court.
In 2016, NDA government withdrew appeal filed by UPA government and said, 'we can’t be seen setting up a minority institution in a secular state.'
On February 12, 2019, a three-judge Bench presided by the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi referred the matter to a seven-judge Bench.