Observing that religion-based reservation is not permissible, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Andhra Pradesh
government to stop all admissions in professional and educational institutions in the state under a controversial law providing for four per cent reservation to Muslims.
Directing the state government to maintain status quo on the issue, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said admissions already made under the newly enacted law would be protected. The court fixed October 5 to hear the case.
The order came on an appeal against the July 24 order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court refusing to stay the July 7 notification issued by the state in favour of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of Muslims Act, 2007, which provided for four per cent reservations to several Muslim sub sects by treating them as Backward Classes.
This is for the third time that the Andhra Pradesh government’s attempt to give reservation to Muslims in public employment and educational institutions has failed to clear legal scrutiny.
The bench sought to know how the state could conduct a religion-specific exercise for identification of backward classes among the Muslims. It said several Muslim sub-sects were getting reservations in various states as part of socially and educationally backward classes or other backward classes but there was no separate reservation for Muslims backward classes.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior counsel Harish Salve called it a communal reservation a fraud on the Constitution.