Educationist PA Inamdar, who won against government reservations in private higher educational institutions in one of India’s most famous education judgments, has asked the government to allow Muslims seats under the 25% Right to Education Act quota.
The HRD ministry is considering the proposal after Inamdar wrote to minister Kapil Sibal arguing that Muslims deserve seats under the quota for economically and socially backward students.
“We are yet to take a decision on the proposal and are considering both its importance and any repercussions,” said a senior HRD ministry official.
All private schools are required to reserve 25% seats for economically and socially backward students under the Right to Education Act. Each state can decide how to determine who fits the bill to benefit from the RTE Act quota.
“Both the Sachar committee and the Ranganath Mishra committee have shown in their reports that Muslims are worse off educationally and socially than any other community. They certainly have a claim to benefit from the 25% seats reserved under the RTE Act,” Inamdar said from Pune where he runs an educational trust.
Inamdar was referring to the Justice Rajinder Sachar panel set up by the PM which found that Muslims were educationally lagging behind scheduled castes and to the Justice Ranganath Mishra committee that recommended reservations for backward Muslims. “The government should issue directives clarifying that Muslim students can be admitted under the 25% quota,” Inamdar said.
The 2005 PA Inamdar & Others Vs the State of Maharashtra judgment by a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court is among India’s most cited judgments in education.
The apex court decided that private unaided educational institutions could not be bound by government reservations. Inamdar, however, insisted his demand for Muslims to benefit from the RTE Act quota was not contrary to the views that led him to challenge quotas in private institutions. “If allowing Muslims to benefit from the RTE Act quota is struck down by a court of law, we will abide by that judgment,” he said.