In the midst of controversy on the OBC quota in elite educational institutions, HRD Minister Arjun Singh on Wednesday said that Muslims could be given reservation under the Constitutional norms of backwardness.
At the same time, he made it clear that there was no plan to give reservation to any community on religious basis.
Talking to reporters at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of National Monitoring Committee of Minority Education in New Delhi, the HRD Minister said, "Under the Constitutional norms, Muslims can get reservation."
He gave this reply when asked whether Muslims can get reservation under the proposed OBC quota as also whether reservation to minorities was possible in the wake of the Andhra Pradesh High Court judgement striking down such a move.
Singh sidestepped the demand of the Kerala government for inclusion of the controversial Self Financing Colleges Bill, passed recently by the state assembly, in the ninth schedule of the Constitution.
"There are Constitutional matters and should be taken up in a Constitutional manner. There is a procedure and the Home Ministry handles the whole thing. Centre-States matters should not be discussed and decided like this. It needs careful examination", he said.
The Kerala Bill had come under attack from section of Muslim and Christian communities, which are running such institutions in the state.