"But it should not enforce 50 per cent reservation for Muslim students in admission to PG medical courses"
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered that "status quo" on the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University be maintained but asked it not to enforce 50 per cent reservation for Muslims in admissions to M.D. and M.S. courses during the pendency of appeals.
A Bench of the Court passed this order while admitting appeals filed by AMU and the Centre challenging an Allahabad High Court judgment that it was not a Muslim minority institution within the meaning of Article 30 of the Constitution.
The status quo as on the date of filing of the petitions before the High Court would be maintained, said the Bench consisting of Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice D.K. Jain, implying that AMU would continue to be a minority institution in terms of the 1981 Constitution amendment.
The Court, while issuing notice to the respondent students, referred the matter to a five-judge Constitution Bench.
Appearing for AMU, senior counsel Soli Sorabjee and Rajeev Dhavan pleaded for a stay of the impugned judgment as it sought to do away with its minority character, which the institution had been enjoying since its inception in 1920.
Mr. Sorabjee said AMU would not implement the 50 per cent reservation until after the apex court had heard the matter.
Mr. Dhavan said AMU had started several theological courses and if the January 5 High Court judgment was not stayed it would create other problems for the university.
Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam said if the judgment was not stayed, whatever status AMU had been enjoying till 1981, when Parliament enacted the Constitution amendment, would come to naught.
Counsel for students, Indu Malhotra and K.V. Venkataraman, opposed the grant of stay. They said the 1981 amendment was aimed at circumventing earlier Supreme Court judgments which held that AMU was not a minority institution as it was set up by a Central legislation.