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Universities on wakf land proposal makes some headway
Sunday, July 25, 2010 03:48:38 PM, Agencies
Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid
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New Delhi: An ambitious scheme for setting up three central universities on wakf land which got delayed due to legal constraints, has made a forward move with a cabinet note being prepared for the proposal.
The issue of implementation of reservation for minorities had held back the proposal, which envisaged setting up of universities at Ajmer (Rajasthan), Mysore (Karnataka) and Kishanganj (Bihar) on a public-private partnership model for the benefit of educationally backward among these communities.
"Law ministry gave us their feedback. There are legal constraints in implementing reservations for minorities in the universities. This issue has to be examined when it comes before the cabinet. HRD Ministry, which looks after education will prepare a cabinet note on it," Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in an interview.
"The cabinet note will take some time. We (Minority Affairs Ministry) have done our work," he said, indicating that the government will find a way out to address the legal constraints in establishment of these universities.
The Minority Affairs Ministry had received in-principle approval of HRD ministry for the proposal last year itself, which was also welcomed by the Central Wakf Council, the apex body to look after wakf affairs.
Khurshid had then said that the concept of the new model for a Central University was being legally examined.
These universities were to be modeled on the BR Ambedkar University and the Indira Gandhi Tribal university, both of which seek to primarily serve educationally and socially groups.
The government had even finalised the names for these universities. While the one in Mysore was to be called Tipu Sultan University of Science and Technology, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai University of Health Science was to be founded in Kishanganj. The university in Ajmer was to be named Khwaja Gharib Nawaz University.
Since the beneficiaries were supposed to contribute to setting up of the universities by donating land, the ministry planned to allow them to reserve 50 per cent of its seats for Muslims.
By opting to set up these universities on wakf land, the government also expected to preempt controversy over their minority status, thereby avoiding a legal controversy like the one Aligarh Muslim University had got embroiled in.
However, the Law Ministry, which was vetting the proposal said the reservation of seats for Muslims in these educational institutions may not withstand legal scrutiny and a controversy like AMU can be repeated.
"I can set up the universities tomorrow but you can't have reservation for minorities in that situation because it's a government set-up of university. This is what the Law Ministry has said. Hence this issue has to be examined when it comes before the cabinet," Khurshid said.
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