Making right to education a reality:
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After allocating Rs. 25 crore (Rs.250 million) for two more campuses
of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), the government is planning
to set up three more universities for the country's minorities,
according to officials.
"Three universities primarily for the
students of minority communities will be set up with a view to
providing them better higher education," a senior official of the
minority affairs ministry told IANS, requesting anonymity since he
is not authorised to speak to the media.
These universities will be set up in
Mysore (Karnataka), Kishanganj (Bihar) and Ajmer (Rajasthan).
According to the official, "Fifty
percent of the seats in these universities will be reserved for
minority students to make them more competitive in the job market."
To be set up on land owned by Waqf
boards, these universities will provide education in all modern
subjects along with theological teaching.
However, officials said the biggest
problem in establishing such universities will be to overcome the
legal hurdles for providing 50 percent reservation for students from
"Our effort is to find a solution
according to constitutional provisions so that the proposal doesn't
get stuck in legalities as it happened in the case of AMU."
In a 1968 lawsuit, the Supreme Court
of India scrapped the minority status of the AMU. Then Prime
Minister Indira Gandhi restored the AMU's minority status through
legislation in 1981.
But in 2006, a division bench of the
Allahabad High Court struck down the provision of the AMU Amendment
Act, 1981. It rejected the central government's plea for restoring
the minority status of the AMU and scrapped 50 percent reservation
for Muslim students.
This was challenged by the centre in
the apex court, which is yet to take a decision on the matter.
Minority affairs ministry officials
said the government was trying to work out a new model to overcome
such legal hurdles.
According to this model, the "land for
these universities will be given by the Waqf board and the
government will set up a university on it. Since these universities
will be for the minorities, reservation for 50 percent minority
students will be justified".
The draft has been prepared and will
be sent to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).
Khalid Akhter can
be contacted at