BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)/New Delhi: Following the removal of Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi as the vice chancellor (VC) of India’s most reputed religious seminary Darul Uloom Deoband, the supporters of the sacked VC have decided to challenge the decision of the Shoora (consultative council) in court.
Vastanvi came in controversy when he praised Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi soon after his appointed as the VC of the seminary.
Rehan Ali, scion of an old zamindar family from Deoband is leading the group of Vastanvi’s supporters. Rehan and his brother Mavi Ali, former state secretary of the Samajwadi Party (SP), said that they would file a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court against Vastanvi’s dismissal. They said that they are making effort get lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan to contest the case.
Mavi was expelled from SP after he criticized Vastanvi’s rival in Deoband, Arshad Madni, reposing faith in the liberal-minded Gujarat cleric. “We are planning a slew of PILs from Delhi, Saharanpur and Deoband,” he said, adding that his associates are roping in supporters in Delhi also.
Slamming the Shoora for removing Vastanvi, Mavi said Darul Uloom Deoband is not a “dini idaara” (a religious institution) but a registered body under the government’s Society Act, 1860. It is, therefore, expected to follow procedural norms set by the law for removal of the head of an institution.
“The Shoora ignored all procedural formalities of bringing the issue on the meeting’s agenda, framing charges, giving the person charged an opportunity to reply, and then have voting on the next meeting,” Mavi added.
Vastanvi’s remarks, his supporters said, were merely his personal views and in no way damaging to the seminary.
“Should it be taken that Deoband wants to curb freedom of speech of its rector ? Which law in the country bans a V-C from speaking his mind?” Mavi asked. The PIL will seek reconstitution of Shoora with fair representation from younger and liberal sections.