Apex court notice to Andhra on quota for Muslims


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Monday issued a notice to the Andhra Pradesh government on a petition challenging the legality of a state government ordinance directing four percent reservation for Muslims in professional colleges.

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A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan issued the notice to the state government without acceding to the petitioner’s counsel Arun Jaitley’s plea to suspend the ordinance.

The bench, which also included Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice V.S. Sripurkar, however, allowed Jaitley’s request for an urgent hearing of the matter and fixed Friday as the next date of hearing.

Issuing the notice, the bench sought to know from the state government if it had excluded the creamy layer among the Muslim community from the benefit of the reservation.

Jaitley sought an urgent hearing of the petition filed by his client T. Murlidhar Rao saying the process of admission into professional colleges would be over by Sep 30.

Rao has approached the apex court against the Andhra Pradesh High Court interim order, which refused to suspend the ordinance and permitted the ongoing admission process to go, ruling that the admission would be subjected to its final judgement.

Rao contended that the high court judgement, which has allowed temporary admission to Muslim students on the basis of the legally questionable ordinance based on religion, would deprive general category students of four percents of the seats in professional colleges.

Andhra Pradesh had promulgated the ordinance for four percent reservation to Muslim students in the state’s professional colleges July 6, 2007. The ordinance provides for reservation to several sub sects within the Muslim community, treating them as backward classes.

Rao’s petition contended that the government issued the ordinance even though a five-judge bench of the high court had earlier declared illegal a similar law by the state government, giving five percent reservation to Muslims.

He contended that the state government proclaimed the ordinance in July even as the Supreme Court earlier refused to stay the state high court’s verdict, which declared the five percent exclusive reservation for Muslims as illegal.