‘Shaky, flawed’: SC slams Karnataka order scrapping Muslim quota | India News


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday shredded the Karnataka government’s controversial March 27 decision ending 4% Muslim quota in the state and said the “foundation of the order is shaky” and appeared to be “based on absolutely fallacious assumptions”.
Hearing appeals against the order, a bench of Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna said, “The order could not have been passed based on an interim report of the commission. The state could have waited till a final report.”
Sensing that the court was inclined to stay the order, the Karnataka government gave an undertaking that the decision would not be implemented till Monday. The matter will be heard next on Tuesday.
By the impugned order, the state had shifted Muslims from the socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs) to the economically weaker section (EWS) to end the 4% reservation they had since 2002. The 4% quota so freed was distributed equally among Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities.
During the course of the hearing in the SC, the bench said, “On the basis of the documents and materials produced before us, it appears that Muslims were backward and then suddenly it has changed.”
Senior advocates Dushyant Dave, Kapil Sibal and Gopal Shankaranarayanan appeared for petitioners from the Muslim community and said the government had not carried out any study and there was no data available to justify denying quota to Muslims.
“The Muslim community needs protection from the Supreme Court,” Dave said. He went on to argue that several commissions had repeatedly categorised Muslims as one of the most backward communities deserving reservation. The March 27 order, which erased the 4% quota enjoyed by Muslims for more than two decades, was not based on any in-depth study and was arbitrary, he said.
“Muslims are being deprived of their constitutional rights because of their religion. The government thinks Muslims are dispensable. What was the hurry to pass an order on the eve of elections? They are being put in the general category to avail EWS quota at a time when their literacy and employment rates are the lowest compared to other communities,” Dave said.
Sibal, Shankaranarayanan and Ravivarma Kumar supported Dave and said irreparable damage would be caused if the state’s order was not stayed.
Appearing for the state government, solicitor general Tushar Mehta said, “Granting reservation on the basis of religion, even if it was wrongly done earlier, is per se unconstitutional. The Constitution does not permit reservation on the basis of religion.”
The Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities, through senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, supported the government and said the court could not stay the March 27 order without hearing the two communities, which would be robbed of their additional reservation granted through the new notification.
The bench repeatedly told the SG that if the state government gave an undertaking not to act on the March 27 order, it would not order a stay. The SG told the SC that he would not give any statement except request the court to give time to the state till Monday to file a detailed reply presenting the correct picture on the impugned decision.
The SG took instructions from the government and said the state would not make any appointment or admission to educational institutions on the basis of the order till Monday.


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