The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that a plea seeking ouster of the Aligarh Muslim University vice chancellor be heard along with a petition on its minority status pending before another bench, noting that AMU may claim that its process to select the VC cannot be “hijacked” as it is a “minority institution”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, which has been critical of AMU’s selection process in appointing Lt Gen (Retd) Zameeruddin Shah as the Vice Chancellor, said that the issue of the varsity being a “minority institution” may crop up while deciding the petition seeking ouster of Shah.
“The University Grants Commission (UGC) may prescribe the qualification for the vice chancellor, but it cannot decide the selection process as the university may claim that it is a minority institution and hence its process cannot be hijacked.
It will be better if the present petition is also dealt with by the bench which is hearing the petition on minority status of the university,” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswar Rao, said. The court did not allow submission of Prashant Bhushan, appearing for AMU almuni Syed Abrar Ahmed who is seeking ouster of Shah as the VC, that the instant case was unrelated to the matter relating to the minority status of the university.
Referring to UGC regulations on pre-requisites for being the VC, Bhushan said there was no question of AMU “adopting or de-adopting the regulations” and the appointment of Shah was not as per the norms and hence, it needed to be quashed.
At the end of the three-hour-long hearing, the bench said it will refer the instant matter to another three-judge bench which is already hearing the appeal of AMU challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict.