:: Related Stories ::
Andhra HC scraps 4.5 minority sub-quota
From Navin Mishra
On May 28 the Andhra Pradesh High Court
scrapped the memorandum issued by the Union government carving out
4.5 per cent sub-quota for religious minorities
from the 27 per cent Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota
in public employment and education.
The ruling was handed down by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur
and Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar who allowed three public
interest litigations filed by president of the AP
BC Welfare Association R. Krishnaiah and others
challenging the two official memorandums (OMs) issued by
the Centre on December 22, 2011, providing
reservations to Muslims, Christians, Buddhists as well
as Zoroastrians notified under the National Commission
for Minorities Act, 1992 as religious
The bench observed that “in the absence of any material
before us, and on the plain language of the official
memorandums, it seems quite clear to us that the sub-quota has
been created only on grounds of religion and nothing
else.” “This is clearly impermissible in view of
the specific language of Article 15 (1), as well as
Article 16 (2) of the Constitution,” it added.
“In the absence of any factual basis, it seems to us
that by making a special provision for religious
minorities with regard to admission in some Central
educational institutions and with regard to employment…,
the Central government has exceeded the Constitutional
boundaries,” the Bench said.
AP Backward Classes Welfare Association president R.
Krishnaiah, who filed a petition in the High Court
challenging the sub-quota, welcomed the verdict and
said that it was a “slap on the Centre’s face”.
He said that the BCs had no objection if the government
gave reservations for minority students by increasing
the OBC quota by 4.5 per cent. However, they
would not accept if a sub-quota was created
within the 27 per cent OBC quota.
Of the total 9,647 seats in 15 IITs, ISM Dhanbad and IT-BHU,
443 were earmarked for minorities under the 4.5 per cent
quota. A total of 391 Muslim candidates
have been shortlisted for counselling. The highest rank
of a Muslim candidate is said to be 159th.
As per the admissions schedule issued by IITs earlier,
these students from the non-creamy layer have to submit
a certificate/undertaking establishing their
credentials by June 1. Counselling for them is to start
from June 10. However, with the High Court orders, the
IITs will be forced to stop counselling for
A total 24,112 candidates among the nearly 5.6 lakh who
sat for IIT-JEE 2012 have been shortlisted. Of them, 391
candidates are said to be Muslim.
SC relief to govt on 4.5% minority quota
From Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI : On June 11 the Supreme Court
rejected the Union government request to stay the
Pradesh High Court order dated May 28 quashing the 4.5 per
cent sub-quota for minorities in educational
institutions and government jobs.
The apex court instead pulled up the Union government,
which had appealed against the High Court order, and
pointed out that it had not presented before the court
any material that would show how it had arrived at a
figure of 4.5 per cent reservation.
The Supreme Court bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and J.S. Khehar
was critical of the Ministry of Human Resource
Development rushing to the apex court with the appeal
against the Andhra the High Court order without
documents to justify the policy of carving out 4.5 per
cent sub-quota within the 27 per cent OBC reservation.
The Bench said it cannot stay the High Court order
“unless the government produces material to show a
detailed exercise was undertaken to carve out the
The apex court refused to admit Union government appeal
or to issue any notice till the Union government
presented the records
on the basis of which it had based its recommendation for
the sub-quota. In
its appeal, the Centre has contended that the Andhra
Pradesh High Court has taken an erroneous view in
striking down the provision despite the fact that the
government decided to provide the sub-quota after an
extensive survey. The Supreme Court has asked the
Central government to produce records on June 13.
The Congress-led UPA government had announced the
sub-quota of 4.5 per cent for socially and educationally
backward people belonging to minority communities on
December 22, 2011, ahead of key Assembly elections in
five states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. It
envisages carving this sub-quota out of the existing 27
per cent quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Many
political parties, including the BJP had objected to
On May 28 this year, the Andhra Pradesh High Court
had struck down the government order on sub-quota for
minorities, and held that the Centre acted in a "casual
manner". The High Court said that the government
Office Memorandum (OM)
creating the sub-quota was based on religious grounds
and not on any other intelligible consideration.
"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," the bench had observed.
The Andhra High Court judgement triggered off a chain
reaction and forced Minority Affairs
Minister Salman Khurshid to say that the government
would move the Supreme Court against the order. The
Centre is of the view that the issue cannot be delayed
as counselling for the IITs will take place on June 13
and admissions are also on for various universities.
The Attorney General started submissions by taking the
“blame on his shoulders” for the outcome of the
sub-quota policy in the High Court by saying that the
“argument was not the most brilliant.”
He sought some protection in view of the ongoing
counselling for IITs for which 325 candidates had
qualified for it under the 4.5 per cent sub quota and
their career and future could be jeopardised if they are
not allowed to appear for the counselling.
When Mr. Vahanvati said there was need for some
protection in view of the ongoing counselling for IITs,
the Bench said, “We will not order stay.”
“First of all you have not produced any documents in the
High Court. We would have been happy, if you had done
so,” the Bench said.
The Bench wanted to know from Mr. Vahanvati as to what
was the basis and how did the government determine 4.5
per cent sub-quota for minorities.
When he 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.
The Bench, which was not in agreement with Mr. Vahanvati
that the “High Court has gone completely wrong,” said
“when the December 22, 2011 Office Memorandum (OM) (on
4.5 per cent sub-quota) reflected nothing, the High
Court will ask questions.”
“Without placing documents, how can you find fault with
the High Court [order],” the bench said adding that
“where is the material and the High Court says nothing
is produced.” When Mr. Vahanvati said the High Court
also missed the 1993 notification on caste
identification, the Bench wanted to know whether it was
placed before it or not.