The National Commission for Scheduled Castes will order Aligarh Muslim University to implement the reservation policy, as required by all central universities, unless the AMU submits documents to prove its minority status by August, the panel’s chairman Ram Shankar Katheria told The Indian Express.
“This is not Pakistan, the university has to follow the rules,” Katheria, BJP MP from Agra and former Union minister, said.
Katheria said that the HRD Ministry, UGC and the National Commission for Minorities have confirmed that the AMU does not enjoy minority status. In 2016, the central government approached the Supreme Court, stating the AMU is not a minority institution, and the matter is pending.
“In my meeting with the AMU authorities on July 3, the Registrar and the Vice-Chancellor could not show a single document to prove the minority status of the university. We have given them a month’s time to submit the documents. But it’s clear that they do not have them,” Katheria said.
“By the end of August, the full committee (of the SC/ST panel) will meet and issue an order asking the university to provide the quota as required by all central universities. The university has around 30,000 students and 15 per cent of these seats should have gone to SC students and 7.5 per cent to STs. If AMU fails to provide the documents, it will have to admit 4,500 Dalit students and 2,250 tribal students,” he said.
Katheria claimed that the AMU’s refusal to provide the quota prescribed in the Constitution has denied seats to 5 lakh students belonging to SC/ST/OBC section since 1951, when it was made a national university through an amendment in Parliament.
Giving a political turn to the issue, Katheria asked why BSP supremo Mayawati has remained silent on this issue. “If she thinks that the BJP is doing dirty politics on Dalit issues, let her take the movement forward. We will rally behind her,” he said.
The controversy over AMU’s minority status was revived after the Uttar Pradesh SC/ST Commission sent the university a notice asking why it has not provided quotas for Dalits and Adivasis despite receiving grants from the central government and making faculty appointments as a national university.
“It does not qualify to be a minority institution under Article 30 (1) and this has been upheld by the Supreme Court ruling of 1968. The institute was granted the National University status by a Parliament Act in 1951. In 1981, the then Congress government brought in an amendment to grant minority status but the Allahabad High Court struck down the provision in 2005,” Katheria said.
Responding to Katheria’s charges, AMU Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor told The Indian Express that the 1981 amendment Act of the Parliament confers minority status to AMU.
“The amendment was overturned by the Allahabad High Court but the Supreme Court in 2005 stayed the High Court order and therefore the amendment Act is still in force. Since the AMU hasn’t reserved a single seat for Muslims, there is no question of making any reservation for any community. In November 2017, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes itself passed an order that the matter is sub-judice.”