The Centre on Friday came out against the verdict of a Single Judge of the Allahabad High Court declaring that Muslims were not a minority in Uttar Pradesh and said it would take all possible steps to restore their minority status.
Terming the High Court’s judgment as “unreasonable”, Law Minister H R Bhardwaj said, "We would do everything to restore the status quo (ante) so that Muslims continue to be treated as a minority."
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference on ‘Access to Justice’ organised by the Confederation of Indian Bar here, he said, “it is a well established fact that Muslims are a minority and they should continue to be so.”
"I have not read the judgement. But from what I could gather, it is an unreasonable judgement. We are not accepting it,” he said wondering how could Muslims be declared a non-minority group.
The Centre would become party to the litigation and seek its annulment, he added.
Asked if the Judiciary has become unduly proactive, Bharadwaj did not make any direct comment but said the Judiciary has the right to interpret the Constitution.
On a petition filed by a Madarsa in Ghazipur District against out of turn grant-in-aid to certain other minority institutions, Justice S N Srivastava of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday held that Muslims could not be treated as a religious minority in the state. The High Court had also issued notice to the Centre to take appropriate steps to modify the October 23, 1993 notification on grant of minority status to Muslims.
On the Tamil Nadu Government’s decision to grant reservation to religious minorities like Muslims, Christians, Bhardwaj simply refused to comment.
To a question if the Government would consider dropping the creamy layer of the OBC from the benefit of 27 per cent quota in central educational institutions including IITs, IIMs and AIIMS, he said the strategy would be chalked out in the UPA-Left Coordination Committee meeting.