SC refuses to stay HC order quashing sub-quota for minorities

The Supreme Court today refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh High court order which struck down the creation of a 4.5 percent sub-quota for minority community students in educational institutions, and criticised the government for the manner in which it had handled the matter.

A bench of justices comprising KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar adjourned the hearing of the matter to Wednesday and has asked the Central government to produce documents supporting the reason for creating a 4.5 percent quota for minorities.

 SC refuses to stay HC order quashing sub-quota for minorities

The Supreme Court will continue hearing the matter on Wednesday. Reuters

Without issuing any notice, the bench asked Attorney General GE Vahanvati to submit it the supporting documents for carving out 4.5 percent sub quota from the existing 27 percent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The bench posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday saying "we must have some documents before us".

Attorney General Vahanvati submitted that some protection should be granted as the counselling for IITs was on and 325 candidates have qualified for it under the 4.5 percent sub quota and their career and future could be jeopardised if they are not allowed to appear for the counselling.

The bench, however, said before it passed any order, the Centre will have to place before it some documents.

During the brief hearing, the bench wanted to know from the law officer as to what was the basis and how did the government determine 4.5 percent sub-quota for minorities and carved it out of the 27 percent quota for OBCs.

When the Attorney General sought to point out errors in the high court order, the bench said it was natural for the high court to ask questions on which the Centre was complaining.

"Without placing documents how can you find fault with the high court (order)?" the bench said.

The Andhra Pradesh high court on 28 May had held that the Centre acted in a “casual manner” in granting the 4.5 percent sub-quota to minorities, carving it out of 27 percent OBC reservation.

It had said the Office Memorandum (OM) creating the sub-quota was based on religious grounds and not on any other intelligible consideration.

The 22 December 2011 OM for a 4.5 percent subquota for socially and educationally backward classes of citizens belonging to minority communities out of the 27 percent reservation for OBCs in central educational institutions and jobs was announced by the Centre ahead of the Assembly elections in five states including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

The very use of the words “belonging to minorities” or “for minorities” indicates that the sub-quota has been carved out only on religious lines and not on any other intelligible basis, the bench observed while setting aside the sub-quota.

The high court judges had said, “In fact, we must express our anguish at the rather casual manner in which the entire issue has been taken up by the central government.”

“No evidence has been shown to us by the learned Assistant Solicitor General to justify the classification of these religious minorities as a homogeneous group or as more backward classes deserving some special treatment.

“We must therefore, hold that Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) do not form a homogeneous group but a heterogeneous group,” it had observed.

with inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jun 11, 2012 15:19:24 IST