In a significant development, the Supreme Court rebuked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, asserting that a government law officer cannot disavow a law enacted by the parliament. The remarks were made during the hearing of the case "Aligarh Muslim University Through its Registrar Faizan Mustafa v Naresh Agarwal and Ors." A Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, emphasized that Parliament is "supreme and eternal," and a law officer stating non-endorsement of a law validly passed would be considered radical.
The case revolves around the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and the specific question is whether a centrally-funded university established by parliamentary statute can be designated a minority institution. Solicitor General Mehta expressed his non-acceptance of the 1981 amendment to the Aligarh Muslim University Act, conferring minority status on AMU, stating it was a parliamentarily-induced constitutional amendment.
The Chief Justice retorted, "As the SG, you cannot say that you do not stand by the amendment. This will be radical when the law officer tells us that he does not stand by what Parliament has done." The court underlined that Parliament's authority is indivisible and eternal, and the government's law officer should not reject the validity of amendments.
The matter involves constitutional questions related to Article 30 and the parameters for granting minority status to an educational institution. The case was referred to a seven-judge bench in 2019. AMU's minority status was initially negated by the Supreme Court in 1968, but it was later reinstated through a 1981 amendment.
The Solicitor General highlighted AMU's annual funding of ₹1,500 crores from the Central government. The court is set to decide on the examination of the amendment act's validity on January 30.
Author: Anushka Taraniya
News Writer, MIT ADT University