Minority affairs and law minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said the government had “kept in mind” the possibility of the courts scrutinising the 4.5% minority sub-quota, suggesting that such an outcome would help determine the nature of affirmative action India should have.
The government, Khurshid said, will stand its ground that the quota was not given along religious lines. “We did not offer the quota on the basis of religion but on the share of population amongst backward classes recognised as backward classes by the Mandal Commission,” Khurshid said.
Arguing that several other decisions to grant quotas to minorities, including the one by the Andhra Pradesh government, are being examined by the courts, Khurshid said: "On the assumption that since the matter now stands before the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court, the constitutional bench feels that the decisions of the Andhra government or any other state deserve a look at the level of the constitutional bench. Keeping all this in mind, we had decided on the 4.5% sub-quota."
He said the rational behind 4.5% quota was to ensure that minorities benefit according to the share of their population. The government is expected to base its case in the SC on this argument.
The Andhra Pradesh high court had on Monday "set aside" the Congress-led UPA government's decision to create sub-quota of 4.5% within the 27% quota for OBCs for minorities. This was viewed as part of its strategy to win Muslim votes before the recent UP polls.
Asked about the status of those minority students already selected by the prestigious IIT under 4.5% sub-quota, the law minister said: “We will move the SC by way of a special leave petition ... The HRD ministry has informed me that admissions to the IITs are not over yet.”