In a major setback to the central government, a division bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday upheld its last year's judgment terming as 'unconstitutional,' the granting of minority status to Aligarh Muslim University and 50 per cent reservation to Muslims.
The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice A N Ray and Justice Ashok Bhushan on petitions filed by the central government and AMU challenging the single-judge verdict on October 4, 2005.
It observed that the Supreme Court, in the Ajeez Basha case in 1968, had already taken the view that AMU was not a minority institution and enactment of a law by Parliament could not overrule the judgement.
In October, Justice Arun Tandon had observed that the AMU Amendment Act was unconstitutional and AMU was not a minority institution.
He said the notification issued by Union Human Resource Development Ministry on February 25 permitting AMU to reserve seats for Muslims in post-graduate medical courses and the 50 per cent quota approved by the AMU Academic Council in the PG medical courses were, therefore, 'illegal'.
The bench ordered that students, who gained admissions in the Post Graduate courses last year, should not be disturbed by the decision.
However, from the 2006-07 academic session, exams be held in the old format, without the provision of reservation.
Soon after the HC made its verdict, counsels for the centre and AMU moved applications seeking a stay on the decision. However, the demand was rejected.
Later, the centre moved a division bench challenging the single bench order.
Meanwhile, the court also rejected a plea by the centre and AMU seeking permission to move the Supreme Court in the matter.