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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Muslim reservation put in cold storage

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There was a ruckus regarding the quota for Muslims, spur-of-the-moment after the announcement of NCP minister Nawab Malik that the MVA will provide 5 per cent quota for Muslims in education in Maharashtra, there was a big uproar in the corridors of power.

Soon after this, there was a verbal attack on Uddhav Thackeray by the opposition for ignoring what Malik said. The CM also hit back at the BJP for questioning Shiv Sena on Muslim reservation. “Don’t waste your energy in raking up these things.” When the issue comes up, we will look into it. The MVA government in the state had announced 5 per cent quota for Muslims in jobs and education in October 2014 though the Bombay High Court scrapped reservations for the community in jobs but allowed it in education. Muslim reservation is a commitment of the NCP-Congress. It is there in the common minimum program as well. So they have to do it. But it is also true that the issue has not yet come for discussion. It is interesting that during the last government’s tenure, when the Bombay High Court had upheld 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in education, the Sena had come out in support of it. This is not the first government that has voiced its affirmation for reservations to a minority but many states have already implemented the same.

The Government of Andhra Pradesh introduced a law enabling 4 per cent reservations for Muslims in 2004. This law was upheld by the Supreme Court of India in an interim order on March 25, 2010. However, it instituted a Constitution bench to look into the issue. Until that decision came, it was allowed. The issue of whether religion-based quotas are permissible under the Constitution is now before a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court. Pending a decision on its legality, the top court, however allowed the state government to implement the quota.

The Kerala Public Service Commission has a quota of 12 per cent for Muslims. Religious minority (Muslim or Christian) educational institutes also have 50 per cent reservation for Muslim or Christian religions. The Central government has listed a number of Muslim communities as backward Muslims making them eligible for reservation. Why are we facing problems today? The reasons are very clear. The Constitution that Babasaheb Ambedkar delivered was a fair perfect document. But it was never implemented in neither letter nor spirit for which the Congress Party whose most leaders came from Hindu Mahasabha. Post-independence, we mostly had Brahmin chief ministers. And the percentage of Muslims in govt. jobs went down from 30 per cent to 1 per cent and non-stop at 15 per cent and that is also the reason why the backward Hindus are asked Mandal commission reservations as they were ignored in jobs.

Reservations are not given to a minority group; it is given to a backward group. For example, consider the parts of Articles 15 & 16 of the Constitution of India that provides for reservation.

15.4: Nothing in this article or in clause (2) or article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. 15.5: Nothing in this article or in sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of Article 19 shall prevent the State from making any special provision by law for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions whether aided or unaided by the State other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of Article 30.

16.4: Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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