Govt to move apex court on sub-quota order

Govt to move apex court on sub-quota order

Khurshid says govt order not based on religion

Govt to move apex court on sub-quota order

The Centre will move the Supreme Court against the order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court striking down provision to provide 4.5 per cent sub-quota for the minorities.

Strongly defending its decision to earmark sub-quota for minorities within the 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes in Central educational institutions and jobs, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said on Tuesday that the Centre would file a special leave petition before the apex court at the earliest. “We will address the issue with a sense of urgency.”

The minister was answering questions by journalists over the AP High Court order quashing the Centre’s order on sub-quota for minorities. The High Court had observed that there was no evidence to justify the classification of these religious minorities as a homogeneous group or as more backward classes deserving some special treatment.

The Union government’s order on December 22, 2011, providing the quota within quota had evoked strong criticism as it came just before the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and other states. Khurshid was a strong votary of the decision. While the BJP and other parties had criticised the government’s move, the Left parties had supported it – with the CPM even demanding enhancement of the sub-quota to 10 per cent. States such as Karnataka and Bihar have already provided sub-quota for minorities.

Referring to the HC order, Khurshid said the Centre’s order was not based on religion but it also considered linguistic minority status. He said the HC had rightly stated that community cannot be given reservation only on the basis of religion and added: “Yes in the Constitution you cannot make religion the only criteria for giving reservation to a community. Minority is not just a religion. It is also linguistic. The expression of the word minority is both religious and linguistic.”

Defending the Centre’s decision, he said the move was based on the Mandal Commission report.

He added that the government did not include any new caste from the minorities in the OBC list (basing its report on the 1931 caste census, the Mandal Commission, set up in 1978, submitted its report in 1980, recommending for 27 per cent quota for the OBCs).

On the impact of the HC order on the students – those in Central institutions such as the IITs – Khurshid said Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has informed him that selection process was still on. This is the fourth time that the HC has struck down minority reservation. The court hammer on the order issued by late Rajasekhara Reddy government fulfilling a poll promise by setting aside 5 per cent reservation came within three months saying that it was totally unconstitutional.