ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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No Minor Matter

The government and courts should cease playing games with minority reservation.

The Supreme Court has upheld the judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court quashing the decision of the Government of India to extend reservations in educational institutions to students from the minority communities. The proposed quota of 4.5% of the seats reserved for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) for students from religious minorities was held to be unconstitutional for violating the constitutional principle that the State cannot discriminate on the basis of ­religion.

This is not the first time that Congress-led government(s) have faced judicial defeat in their attempt to provide reservations to minorities in educational institutions. In 2004, the then government of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had issued an ordinance providing 5% reservation for minorities that was later struck down by the courts; subsequently an Act of the state’s legislature providing such reservation suffered a similar fate. The repeated failure to clear the judicial hurdle does lend credence to the allegation that the promised minority quota is merely a cynical act to gain the votes of Muslims and not a genuine effort to address their educational backwardness and discrimination. This is particularly so since reservations for Muslims continue to be provided by some state governments like Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.

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