A bench of the Allahabad HC consisting of acting Chief Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra and Justice Rakesh Srivastava, while hearing a PIL on Tuesday, had sought a reply from the state government within three weeks on why girls from a select community were being benefited by the welfare scheme.

The PIL, filed by Ashok Srivastava of Siddharthanagar, alleges that the August 14, 2012 order of the SP government in the state had said that Muslim girls will be given Rs 30,000 for higher education and marriage and had claimed that this was in contravention to the right of equality enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

The petitioner had also alleged that the government was trying to divide the society on religious lines by doing so for political gains. The PIL cites the Supreme Court (SC) order in the Indra Sahini case wherein the Apex Court had said that no reservation can be granted on religious lines.

Counsel of the Uttar Pradesh government AK Goel, however, told the court that the state government was doing so as part of its mandated task of "minority welfare".

He added that the grant was being given to all minorities, including Hindu's. The "Hamari Beti, Uska Kal" scheme has been one of the most propagated schemes of the UP government and SP  leaders, including the chief minister, miss no opportunity to highlight it as a major welfare scheme for the Muslims.

(Agencies)

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