NEW DELHI: Reacting sharply to Andhra Pradesh High Court's decision to quash the 4.5 per cent sub-quota for the minorities carved out of the 27 per cent reservation in jobs for Other Backward Classes, Union Minorities Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday defended the government's stand and said they will appeal to the Supreme Court against the judgement.
At a press conference, Salman Khurshid said that reservation for minorities was was based on the findings of the Mandal Commission and the government would appeal to the Supreme Court by way of Special Leave Petition against the court's decision.
Earlier, in a huge setback to the government, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday struck down its December 22 notification providing 4.5 % sub-quota to minorities in education and jobs within the 27% quota for the Other Backward Classes (OBCS).
The sub-quota was provided on the basis of the backwardness and not on the basis of religion, and was meant for equitable distribution of benefits, the Centre told the court.
The very use of the words "belonging to minorities" or "for minorities" indicated that the sub-quota was carved out only on religious lines, the court said.
A division bench of Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar, set aside the office memorandum (OM) issued last December to provide the sub-quota to minorities.
The court, which was dealing with a batch of petitions on the issue, said the memorandum violated Articles 15(1) and 16(2) of the Constitution that prohibit discrimination based on religion.
The bench, which had heard the arguments and reserved its judgment last month, expressed its anguish over the "casual manner" in which the Centre issued the memorandum.
The judges said that the sub-quota was created only on religious grounds and the government did not justify classification of religious minorities as a homogeneous group or as more backward classes deserving some special treatment.
It also pointed out that the government totally relied on the Sachar Committee report on Indian Muslims.
The court noted that while the Sachar Committee went into the socio-economic conditions of Muslims, the government relied on the report to provide sub-quota to the minorities.
The court held that Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians do not form a homogeneous group but a heterogeneous group.
Take a look at the scenes from the 50th International Paris Air Show, 2013. It is considered as the world's largest aviation and space industry show, and takes place at Le Bourget airport June 17-23.