The Centre is committed to providing reservations in jobs and educational institutions to the backward sections among Muslims despite Andhra Pradesh High Court having struck down on Monday the provision introduced by the Andhra government.
Confirming this to HT in an exclusive interview on Wednesday, Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid added: “In the Constitution, there is a clear promise of reservation on the basis of backwardness.
“My understanding is that the Andhra court order has not questioned the OBC route for giving reservation to Muslim backwards. It has questioned flaws in the process,” Khurshid said. “The Andhra order is not a setback and will be challenged,” added Imran Kidwai, the head of the Congress’s minority department.
The Sachar committee, which probed the disadvantages faced by Muslims, found that 40.7 per cent of all Muslims could be categorised as OBCs.
Muslims comprise 15.7 per cent of the total OBC population. But their share in the OBC quota is just 8.3 per cent.
Muslims seek quota
An alliance of more than 50 Muslim leaders gave a renewed call for reservation for Muslims on the grounds of backwardness at the end of a “strategic meet” in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court order overturning the state’s 4 per cent reservation for certain backward Muslims and West Bengal’s promise of 10 per cent quota for them have stirred the debate.
“There is a need to evolve a consensus for Muslim reservation in light of several high-level recommendations for it,” Syed Shahabuddin, a former diplomat and leader of the National Movement for Muslim Reservation, said.
Shahabuddin termed the ruling high court ruling “unfortunate and deplorable”.