Uproar in Lok Sabha over minority quota

Uproar in Lok Sabha over minority quota

Backward sections of the minorities will be entitled to 4.5 per cent reservation within  27 per cent quota for the Other backward Castes (OBC).

The significant measure was passed by the Cabinet and would come into effect from January 1, 2012. The step is being vehemently opposed by the BJP on the plea that the Constitution has no provision for reservations for the minorities.

The UPA-2 used an executive order to make it happen.

Giving a clarification in this regard in the Lok Sabha, Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Wednesday that inclusion or exclusion in the Central OBC list would be strictly on the basis of backwardness of minorities which include Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis.

Only backwards among the minorities would come under this quota.

Khurshid reverted to the setting up of a National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) on March 15, 2005 under the chairmanship of Rangnath Mishra which was tasked to suggest criteria for the identification for backward sections among the religious and linguistic minorities for giving reservation in education and government jobs.

The Commission observed that since minorities –especially Muslims–are underrepresented they should be given 15 per cent post in all cadres and grades under the central and state governments.

The minister said of the 15 per cent, the NCRLM recommended that 10 per cent should be for Muslims and the remaining 5 per cent for other minorities.

Khurshid made the statement amid loud protests in the House. A large number of BJP members including L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj started protesting once Khurshid started reading his statement. Minutes earlier, Swaraj said the time for discussing the Judicial Accountability Bill was unnecessarily being extended as the ruling party did not have enough numbers to pass it in the House.

The Chair overruled her objections and allowed Khurshid to read out his statement which he did amidst continuous slogan shouting.

Even as the BJP members protested against reducing the reservation quota meant for OBC, Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP) too tried to lodge his protest but could not be heard in the din. 

“It may be clarified here that only backward sections of the Minority Communities can avail of 4.5 per cent sub-quota,” Khurshid said, adding the reservation will be available in government jobs and educational institutions run by the Central government.

There will be no constitutional hurdle in implementing the sub-quota for minorities, the Minister said, adding, “It is apparent from the judgment of the Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney case that the government is within its legitimate rights to make sub-categorisation amongst castes/communities included in the broad category of OBC”.

The Minister said Mandal Commission had estimated OBCS were 52 per cent of the total population in the country with Hindu castes constituting about 43.7 per cent and non-Hindu to Hindu castes among OBC is about 1:5 ratio.

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