A petition has been lodged in the Allahabad High Court challenging the selection process for the Vice-Chancellor (V-C) of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The controversy stems from the inclusion of Acting V-C Mohammad Gulrez’s wife, Naima Khatoon, in the list of final candidates.
The plea, filed by Syed Afzal Murtaza Rizvi, a professor at Jamia Millia Islamia’s Computer Science department, is scheduled for a hearing before Justice Vikas Budhwar on November 16.
At a recent meeting of AMU’s governing body, three candidates were shortlisted for the prestigious V-C position. Notably, Acting V-C Mohammad Gulrez’s wife, Naima Khatoon, who also serves as the principal of AMU’s Women’s College, was among these candidates, receiving 50 votes from the members of the AMU Court, the governing body.
The other two shortlisted candidates include M. Uruj Rabbani, former dean of the Faculty of Medicine at AMU, and Faizan Mustafa, a distinguished jurist and former V-C of National Law University, Nalsar, who received 61 and 53 votes, respectively.
This decision arose from a panel chaired by Acting V-C Mohammad Gulrez, which has raised questions about potential conflicts of interest within the selection process. Eight members of the AMU governing body who participated in the shortlisting meeting expressed their dissent by submitting a strong note, highlighting concerns about the procedure.
The university spokesperson, however, defended the selection process by stating, “There is nothing in the act and statutes of this Institution which prevents the Vice-Chancellor from chairing or voting at a meeting in which his spouse is one of the candidates for selection.”
The three shortlisted candidates for the V-C position will now be forwarded to President Draupadi Murmu, who serves as the Visitor of the university. She will have the final say in appointing the next AMU V-C.
If Naima Khatoon is chosen, she will make history as the first woman to hold the prestigious position of V-C at Aligarh Muslim University.