Kerala HC quashes 80:20 distribution of minority scholarships

Published on May 29, 2021 10:26 AM IST
The Kerala High Court on Friday quashed the Kerala directorate of minority welfare board’s order distributing scholarships to Muslim and Latin Catholic and Converted Christian students at the ratio of 80:20.
Kerala high court. (HT file)
Kerala high court. (HT file)

The Kerala High Court on Friday quashed the Kerala directorate of minority welfare board’s order distributing scholarships to Muslim and Latin Catholic and Converted Christian students at the ratio of 80:20.

A division bench of the court headed by Chief Justice Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly directed the government to formulate a fresh plan which will benefit students of both communities equally. The court said the order of the welfare board was not legally sustainable and asked it come out with a fresh formula benefiting both communities.

The court’s order came on a petition filed by one Justin P of Palakkad in which he said the fixation ratio was not based on actual population of these two communities and was highly biased and the state government was supporting one particular community.

But the government argued that unemployment rate among Muslim community was 52 per cent, Christians 31.9 and backward Hindus 40 per cent. Besides this, the Sachar Committee report clearly emphasized the backwardness of Muslims in education field and need to improve their educational conditions. But the court said the decision of the government was unconstitutional and unsupported by law.

As part of the scheme the state government provides 5000 scholarships to degree and post-graduate students, especially women students, every year. The scheme was later extended to students from Latin Catholic and converted Christians. In 2015 an order was formulated by which Muslims will be given 80 per cent and 20% to Christians and this was challenged in the court. Several church leaders have been complaining about this quite some time and it prompted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to keep minority welfare portfolio with him this time.

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