SC Slams Karnataka Govt Scrapping of 4 percent Muslim Reservation as “Shaky and Flawed”

Advocates said that no study was conducted and there was no empirical data available with the government to scrap the quota for Muslims.

reservation
SC orders UP Haryana and Delhi governments to safegaurd interests of migrant labourers during harsh lockdowns. Source: Bloombergquint

The Supreme Court on Thursday raised concerns at the Karnataka government’s decision to increase quotas for Vokkaligas and Lingayats in government jobs and educational institutions by two per cent each, while scrapping the four per cent reservation for OBC Muslims.

A Bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna orally observed that the government had relied on an interim report rather than a final report to come to its decision.

The apex court said the decision prima facie appeared to be on “highly shaky ground” and “flawed”.

A bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna said from the records tabled before the court it seems that the Karnataka government’s decision is based on an “absolutely fallacious assumption”.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave, and Gopal Sankarnarayanan, appearing for members of the Muslim community from Karnataka highlighted the lack of data and research-based evidence with the government to support the decision. They said that no study was conducted and there was no empirical data available with the government to scrap the quota for Muslims.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for a petitioner in a tagged matter, argued that scrapping of the quota was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Senior Advocate Prof Ravivarma Kumar said that the Muslim community was singled out because of their religion. He added that the urgency to scrap the reservation comes at a time when institutes in the State were taking admissions.

Appearing for Karnataka, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, sought some time to file replies to the petitions and assured the bench that no appointments and admissions will be made in the meantime based on the March 24 government order which has been challenged by the petitioners.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for members of the Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities, said no interim order should be passed without allowing them to place their response to the petitions.

The matter was posted for further hearing on April 18. The bench asked Mehta and Rohatgi to file their responses by then.

The state’s Basavaraj Bommai led BJP-government decided to scrap the four per cent reservation for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions weeks ahead of the state assembly polls on May 10.

The state government also announced two new categories for reservation and divided the four per cent Muslim quota between the Vokkaligas and Lingayats, two numerically dominant and politically influential communities in the state. Muslims eligible for quotas were categorized under the economically weaker sections.

The state government’s decision has pushed the reservation limit to around 57 per cent now.

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