New Delhi/Hyderabad, July 5: The Supreme Court on Wednesday turned down the State government’s plea to allow it to admit Muslim candidates in educational institutions for the current academic session under the law, struck down by the High Court, providing five per cent reservation for Muslims in the State.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Justice C.K. Thakker said allowing the plea would amount to staying the Andhra Pradesh High Court order, which had declared the law as unconstitutional. The top court had earlier refused to stay the High Court order striking down the Andhra Pradesh Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments/ Posts in Public Services under the State to Muslim Community Act 2005.
The act provided five per cent reservation to Muslims in educational institutions and government jobs in the State. The bench reiterated its earlier order in which it had said “we are not inclined to stay the operation of the impugned judgment and make operational a law which has been invalidated by the High Court, as an interim measure”.
The bench, however, clarified that those already admitted in educational institutions or employed in public offices under the impugned law would not be disturbed and status quo would continue to this extent. Admitting a bunch of appeals, including one from the Andhra Pradesh government against the High Court judgment, the top court had referred the matter to a Constitution bench.
The Supreme Court’s decision came as a major blow to the Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy government as well as the Muslim community in the State. Information minister Muhammad Ali Shabber said that the State government tried “seriously and sincerely” to get permission to give admission to five per cent Muslim students this academic year. But, the apex court had a different point of view.
The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), however, blamed the State government for lacking in seriousness in pursuing the case. MIM MP from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi said the State government has to be blamed for the fiasco. “The government did not fight the case properly in the High Court in the first stage and had the BC Commission submit the report in haste in the second stage. As a result, Muslims are being denied their rightful share of seats in educational institutions and jobs,” he said.
The State government should take up the matter with the Prime Minister and ask for a Constitutional amendment, Mr Owaisi said. He also demanded that the State government purchase five per cent of the seats and sponsor Muslim candidates. Various Muslim minority organisations involved in the legal battle wanted the UPA government to make a Constitutional amendment providing reservations to Muslims.
Federation of AP Minority Educational institutions general secretary Zafar Javed said: “We were hoping for a positive response from the apex court. The judgement is a setback. The State government had gone to SC with fair intentions but now it should act swiftly and provide the information sought by the court and ensure that the matter is posted for hearing before the Constitutional bench,” he said.
Jamiat Ulema State president Peer Shabbir Ahmed said it will take up the cause with the support of its national-level body and pressurise the UPA government to make the Constitutional amendment.
Andhra Pradesh Bar Council member Naushad Ali said unlike the State government the Union government has the power to provide reservations by making a Constitutional amendment.