The Supreme Court of India on Monday questioned how a UGC regulation, under which only a teacher with minimum 10 years experience can be considered for the post of Vice Chancellor, infringed the minority status and constitutional rights of reputed Aligarh Muslim University.
“The UGC regulation says a person should have 10 years of teaching experience. How does it affect the minority rights of the university,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked. The bench also sought to know about the provisions of the Aligarh Muslim University Act which have been violated by the UGC regulations.
It then tagged the PIL filed by advocate Mushtaq Ahmad with some other pending petitions on the issue and listed them for hearing on January 20.
Ahmad claimed that the UGC regulations were not applicable to the AMU as it is a minority institution and moreover, Article 31 of the Constitution gave independence to minority-run institutions to look after their own affairs.
An apex court bench, which had been critical of AMU’s selection process in appointing Lt Gen (Retd) Zameeruddin Shah as the VC, had tagged a plea seeking his ouster with an appeal of AMU challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict divesting the varsity of its minority tag.
Earlier, the apex court had taken exception to the AMU’s submission that an eminent person can be appointed its Vice Chancellor, saying did it mean that “a singer, a sportsman or a musician” can also be selected for the coveted assignment. The Centre had told the court that it had not taken a “rigid” stand on appointment and had already forwarded three short-listed names to the President for approval, as the varsity has kept the UGC regulations on the issue at abeyance.