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SC orders halt to AP Muslim quota
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 28
Not convinced with the Andhra Pradesh and Centre’s stand that the four per cent reservation to Muslims in state was made after proper identification of the deserving backwards in the community, the Supreme Court today restrained the state from going ahead with admission under the quota in educational institutions.

The controversial Act of the AP government providing 4 per cent reservation to backward Muslims in jobs and educational institutions has been challenged in a bunch of petitions in the Apex Court on the ground that the state backward classes commission had not done its job properly while identifying the beneficiaries.

The court raised queries on commission’s report, when senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for petitioners, said the move of the state government was nothing but to give “communal reservation” rather than making honest efforts to identifying the real backwards in the community.

The court was not satisfied with state’s affidavit, which said the forward Muslims like Syeeds, Pathans, Mughals and Iranis were left out of the reservation benefit and the remaining “other groups” were included.

As the court specifically asked Solicitor-General G.E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Centre and AP’s counsel Indira Jaishingh what the state government meant by the remaining other groups, they could not offer any explanation and sought time till Monday to take instructions.

Not approving such a general averment by the state in a sensitive issue like this, the court adjourned the further hearing till October 5 and said no further admission would be allowed by any institution.

Nearly 20,000 Muslim students’ admission has reportedly been processed under the quota and it is complete in technical institutions and only has to be completed for the undergraduate courses.

The court pointed out that the backward Muslims had been provided reservation in neighbouring Karnataka also but no such controversy had arisen their because there was proper identification of the beneficiaries but the way the AP backward classes commission had proceeded with the case, it raised several doubts. The court also raised questions of non-exclusion of the creamy layer from the reservation benefit.

The AP government had recently passed the law to replace an ordinance issued by it in 2005, which was stayed by the state high court in November the same year.

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