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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

SC told ‘reservation not needed for Muslims in AP’

New Delhi: Muslims in Andhra Pradesh are proportionately represented in employment and they did not require any special law like four per cent reservations in professional and educational institutions in the state, the Supreme Court was told on Tuesday by the petitioners opposing it.

Quoting the data from the first report on religion: census of India, 2001, the petitioners in response to the affidavit filed by the centre said "the percentage of Muslims in employment (in the State) is 9.26 per cent as against the percentage of population of 9.2 per cent".

"Thus, the employment is more than the proportionate to their population and the Muslim community in Andhra Pradesh is proportionately represented in employment. Therefore, Muslim community does not require any special provision," T Murlidhar Rao, the petitioner opposing the law said in his counter affidavit.

The affidavit filed through senior advocate Ramakrishna Reddy said any alleged comparison of the Muslim community with other states will serve no purpose as the backwardness was a relative criterion and has to be compared with rest of the society within the state.

It said before providing the reservation, the backward class commission has not conducted the survey of entire population as ordered by the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney (Mandal) case.

Further, the commission has not identified the criteria for identifying the BCS and it just adopted the report of advisor P S Krishnan, the affidavit said adding that it was the third attempt to provide reservation to Muslims.

The petitioners said there are several other communities who did not have any opportunity for reservation for the last 20 years.

They contended that Muslims were not deprived of admissions in educational institutions in the state and there were number of minority professional colleges providing admissions exclusively to them.

Andhra Pradesh government has maintained that the law was not on religious lines but based on careful identification of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) among the community.

The apex court, while stopping any further admissions under the controversial law on September 28, had sought response from the Andhra Pradesh government on sub categorisation of SEBC Muslims for extending the benefit of reservation.

Defending the legislation, the state government said "neither the act nor the report of the commission based on which an ordinance was promulgated and subsequently the act was passed can be termed as religion based".

The Andhra Pradesh government has accepted the report of the P S Krishnan Report (Krishnan) Commission which contended that bulk of Muslim SEBCS were lost sight of over several decades, whereas other groups had the benefit of reservations for over 30 years, including scheduled castes converted to Christianity.

The petition filed by T Murlidhar Rao and K Sriteja has contended that providing reservations exclusively to the Muslim community on religious lines was violative of articles 15(1) and 16(2) of the constitution.

Bureau Report

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