Notice to Kerala on quota for poor students in forward classes

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice S H Kapadia sought response of the state government on an appeal filed by the Muslim Jamath Council which challenged the government order reserving few seats for poor students belonging forward communities.

The Council has approached the apex court challenging a January 13 order of the Kerala High Court which dismissed its plea that the provision was violative of the Constitution. The Council had contended that there was no provision under the Constitution mandating reservation to any class on the basis of economic backwardness.

The High Court had upheld the validity of the order reserving few seats for students belonging to economically weaker sections of forward communities in government colleges and departments in universities at graduate and post-graduate levels.

It had said, "Excellence in education and professional fields can be achieved only if there is competitiveness. It must be ensured by all concerned that members of these communities are made to compete with the best in the country and they must earn their admission in education in general list at least at the higher postgraduate level by competing with meritorious students.

"It was time that reservation in higher education and employment was gradually brought down as the socio-economic conditions of SCs and STs communities and Other Backward Classes had undergone a 'revolutionary' change.

"These communities must realise that government's over indulgence in extending various benefits will only stunt their growth and time has come to awaken these communities from the slumber of satiated insouciance", the court had said.

The bench had rejected petitioner's contention saying it was "totally uncharitable", adding "poverty or economic backwardness is the worst form of social evil".

In the prevailing scenario, social and economic backwardness among forward class in Kerala has created a "social havoc" after land reform legislation, the bench had point out. Addressing the contentions of the petitioner, the bench had said the Muslim community has undergone tremendous changes for the better, especially over the last few years.

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