The State Council decided Monday not to rule over a case filed by Minister of Higher Education Ashraf Al-Shehy, in which he contests the legality of the procedures for electing the federation of student unions at Egyptian universities.
The council’s fatwa and legislations department decided to dismiss Al-Shehy’s case against the federation, in which he filed to the council as a neutral judicial authority, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.
Head of the legally-disputed federation Abdullah Anwar told Daily News Egypt the ministry is avoiding clarifying the federation’s situation following the state council’s decision.
“The State Council refused to rule over the case since it was already presented before another judicial body, the administrative court,” Anwar said. “The ministry wouldn’t reveal information about the court case including when it is next in session.”
The ministry must announce its stance following the State Council’s decision, Anwar said, confirming the federation will continue with his plan of calling together a general assembly of the federation.
Anwar, who is also head of Cairo University’s Student Union (SU), said the meeting of the general assembly will not be affected by any judicial or ministerial decisions since it only affects the federation body, not the universities individual unions who constitute the assembly.
Anwar headed a coalition of independent heads of student unions to win the federation elections in December 2015, defeating an opposition that was reportedly supported by the ministry and a number of universities officials.
The win of the current federation body was praised by observers and commentators as a win over state attempts to stamp down independent student movements. Shortly following the win, the ministry announced that the elections were marred with violations and vacated them.
Since 2013, in the wake of the decision to ban the Muslim Brotherhood, universities witnessed major upheavals from students who organised protests in support of the Brotherhood.
Protests often ended with violent dispersals and injuries among both students and security forces, in addition to the random arrests and suspensions that followed.
Other student protests or activities organised by non-Islamist students were also dismantled by security forces or universities administration.