The Allahabad High Court on Monday reserved its judgment in the matter of cancellation of land lease of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar University run by a trust led by Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan in Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh.
The judgment was reserved by a bench comprising acting Chief Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Kshitij Shailendra after hearing the counsel for the petitioner and the Advocate General (AG) of Uttar Pradesh.
The AG defended the decision to cancel the lease on the grounds that public interest is of paramount consideration. It was argued that the land which was acquired for the purpose of higher learning (research institute) was being used to run the Rampur Public School.
The advocate general cited the report of the Special Investigation Team to assert that sufficient opportunity was given to the petitioner’s trust before the cancellation of the lease.
It was argued that this was a case of “nepotism” where the then cabinet minister was himself the chairman of a private trust running the institution and all approvals were granted by him bypassing procedures prescribed in law.
“Perhaps he thought he was the super CM,” stated the AG referring to the then cabinet minister in the previous Samajwadi Party government Azam Khan.
The petitioner alleged that the lease deed was cancelled without providing any opportunity for a fair hearing.