New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said Karnataka’s earlier regime granting four per cent reservation to Muslims will continue to hold the field till May 9.
The top court will hear the batch of petitions just on the eve of the polling on May 10. The poll results will be declared on May 13.
A bench of justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna also said the decision of scrapping of the four per cent quota for Muslims in 2B category of the ‘Other Backward Castes’ and granting benefits of increased quota to Vokkaligas and Lingayats in admissions and appointments to government jobs will not be implemented till May 9 after the state government sought time to file its reply.
At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Karnataka government, said he will be filing the reply, which is prepared and is a bulky document on a batch of the pleas during the day.
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“I will be filing it today but the problem is I (solicitor general) am in personal difficulty as arguing before the constitution bench hearing pleas related to same-sex marriage. Kindly put the matter for some other day”, he told the bench.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioners, opposed the request for adjournment by Mehta and said the hearing already has been deferred four times.
Mehta said the interim order passed by the court is already in the petitioners’ favour.
Dave requested the court to record the submission of Mehta that impugned orders, scrapping the quota for Muslims will not be implemented and the earlier notification dated March 30, 2002, granting the quota will hold the field till next date of hearing.
The bench agreed with Dave and recorded the submission, while posting the matter for further hearing on May 9.
Mehta urged the bench to record in the order that the assurance was given by the state government without causing any prejudice to its contention.
The bench recorded that the assurance was given by the state without causing any prejudice to its contention.
On April 18, the top court had deferred till April 25 hearing on a batch of pleas challenging scrapping of the four per cent Muslim quota in Karnataka after the state government sought time to file its reply.
It had recorded the assurance given by the state government on April 13 that no quota benefits in admission to educational institutions and appointment in government jobs will be given to Vokkaligas and Lingayats will hold the field till the next date of hearing.
On April 13, the Karnataka government’s decision to scrap four per cent Muslim quota ahead of the assembly polls came under the scanner of the Supreme Court, which questioned the government order and said prima facie it appeared to be on a “highly shaky ground” and “flawed”.
Taking note of the observations, the Karnataka government had assured the top court that it will put on hold its March 24 order by which it had given quotas in admission to educational institutions and appointment in government jobs to Vokkaligas and Lingayats, till the next date of hearing.
The four per cent reservation for Muslims was to be equally split between the two communities.
The top court said from the records tabled before it appears that the Karnataka government’s decision is based on “absolutely fallacious assumption”.
At the fag end of its term, the BJP government on March 24 decided to abolish the four per cent reservation for Muslims under 2-B category.
The four per cent was later split into two and distributed among Vokkaligas in 2-C category and Lingayats in 2-D category.
The state government announced two new categories of reservation and divided the four per cent Muslim quota between the Vokkaligas and Lingayats, the two numerically dominant and politically influential communities.
Muslims eligible for quotas were categorised under the economically weaker sections.
The state government’s decision has pushed the reservation limit to around 57 per cent now.