New Delhi:  In a big embarrassment to the Central Government, the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea seeking stay on Andhra Pradesh High Court order quashing 4.5 percent sub-quota for minorities in central educational institutions.

The relevant documents which were submitted by the Centre before the SC to clarify its stand on the sub-quota issue failed to convince the court.

A bench comprising justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar questioned the petitioner that on what constitutional basis or law the determination of 4.5 percent sub-quota for minorities has been made. The SC further asked that if the 4.5 percent sub-quota affected the 27 percent OBC quota, then why the National Commission for Minorities and National Commission for Backward Classes were not consulted by the Centre.

Expressing unhappiness over the issue, the bench said that the government cannot classify sub-quota on religious basis.

Notably, the SC’s order is going to affect over 325 IIT students who were shortlisted for the prestigious institution on the minority quota basis.

The SC refused to give relief to the 325 candidates of IIT in the minority sub-quota  and asked the government to tell the court about the number of minority candidates admitted through 27 percent OBC list.

Responding to the bench, Additional Solicitor General Gourab Banerji said that the exact figures will be known soon after the counseling is over on Wednesday.

Clarifying the government’s stand, Banerjee told the SC that the 4.5 percent  minorities sub-quota  were meant only for Muslims and the Andhra Pradesh High Court had incorrectly assumed it for all minorities.   

Following the SC’s order, the Centre had submitted the documents before the bench on Tuesday.
On Monday, the bench had ticked off the government for the way it had handled the "complex" and "sensitive" issue. The SC had also expressed its "unhappiness" that the Centre was blaming the High Court when it had itself failed to produce documents to support its case.
The bench was critical of the Ministry of Human Resource Development rushing to the Apex Court with the appeal against the May 28 order of the High Court without documents to justify the policy of carving out 4.5 percent sub-quota within the 27 percent OBC reservation.
The Union government had moved the Apex Court challenging the High Court order quashing the 4.5 percent sub quota for minorities.
The December 22, 2011 Office Memorandum for the sub-quota for socially and educationally backward classes of citizens belonging to minority communities in central educational institutions and jobs was announced by the Centre ahead of the Assembly elections in five states including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

Mala Dixit/Agencies

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