Govt panel backs quota for converts
The National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities is understood to have recommended earmarking 15 per cent seats in non-minority educational institutions for minorities and backed the demand for extending Scheduled Caste quota benefits to Dalit converts.
The commission chaired by Justice Ranganath Misra gave its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday. Government sources said the commission had drawn an analogy with the Supreme Court judgment that limited admission to minority students in minority institutions to 50 per cent and recommended 15 per cent seats in non-minority institutions for minorities. It said Muslims - 73 per cent of the minorities - should have the first claim on two-third of the earmarked seats; other minorities should have one-third.
Government sources said the report was unanimous as far as the full-fledged members - Dr Tahir Mahmood, Dr Anil Wilson and Dr Mohinder Singh - were concerned. There was a note of dissent from Ms Asha Das, member secretary and an ex-officio member.
The Sachar panel that studied the state of Muslims in the country had also argued in favour of treating the Arzals - considered at the bottom of the social hierarchy among Muslims - as SCs. The government did not take up this recommendation for consideration last week on the ground that it was waiting for the Justice Ranganath Misra commission's report.