HC quashes sub-quota for minorities in OBC reservation

Holding that the Centre acted in a "casual manner", the Andhra Pradesh High Court Monday quashed the 4.5 per cent sub-quota to minorities carved by the Centre out of the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs a verdict that may affect admissions already made in central educational institutions such as IITs.

In a setback to the Centre, the court said the sub-quota was based on religious grounds and not on any other consideration.

The order allowing 4.5 per cent quota for socially and educationally backward among minority communities in central educational institutions and jobs was announced by the Centre in December 2011, ahead of the Assembly elections in five states.

The very use of the words "belonging to minorities" or "for minorities" indicates that the sub-quota has been carved out on religious lines and not any other intelligible basis, the bench comprising Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Sanjay Kumar observed.

"We must express our anguish at the rather casual manner in which the entire issue has been taken up," it added. "No evidence has been shown to us by the learned Assistant Solicitor General to justify the classification of these religious minorities as a homogeneous group or as more backward classes... We must therefore hold that Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) do not form a homogeneous group but a heterogeneous group."

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