Zafruddin Khan Vs.
Aligarh Muslim University & Ors.
O R D E R
appellant filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Allahabad High Court for a
declaration that the decision of the Aligarh Muslim University (`AMU' for
short), the first respondent herein, to establish special campus centres across
India was illegal and for a direction to the said University not to establish a
campus at Chelemala at Perinthalmanna Mallapuram Kerala. The appellant relied
upon Section 5(9A) of the Aligarh Muslim University Act, 1920 in support of his
contentions. The said petition was resisted by the respondents inter alia on the
ground that appellant had no locus standi to file such a petition and justifying
the action by relying upon Section 12(2) of the said Act.
said writ petition has been dismissed by the High Court by the impugned order dated
7.10.2010 on the ground that the appellant does not have any locus standi to file
such public interest litigation. The High Court was of the view that only a Member
of the University Senate or University Academic Council or University Court
could file a writ petition for the reliefs sought by the appellant. The High
Court was also of the view that the fundamental rights of the appellant were
not affected by the proposed action of the University and therefore, the writ petition
was not maintainable. The High Court consequently dismissed the writ petition with
an observation that if any aggrieved person having a locus files a proper
petition, the dismissal of the appellant's petition will not come in the way of
such petition being entertained. The said order is challenged in this appeal by
appellant has pointed out that apart from being a Member of the Bar, he is a former
President of the Student Union of the AMU, former elected Member of AMU Court, Life
Member of AMU Old Boys Association and Donor Life Member of the AMU. He had produced
documents in support of the said averments. The said averments are not shown to
be false. The appellant claims that his only interest in filing the writ petition
was to ensure that AMU continues to be an Institution of academic excellence
and that no action of the University should dilute its academic excellence. On the
other hand, the respondents contend that the writ petition was filed with the oblique
motive of maligning the Vice Chancellor of the University. It is not necessary
to examine that aspect now.
are of the view that having regard to the fact that the appellant was a former
student and elected Member of AMU Court and is also a Donor Life Member, he has
sufficient interest to file the writ petition in public interest. The High Court
ought not to have dismissed the public interest litigation only on the ground
of locus standi of appellant to file the writ petition.
therefore, allow this appeal, set aside the order of the High Court and restore
the public interest litigation to the file of the High Court without expressing
any opinion on the merits of the case. The respondents will be entitled to contest
the writ petition by urging all contentions open to them in law, including the contention
relating to the alleged malafides of the appellant.
R.V. RAVEENDRAN )
A.K. PATNAIK )