New Delhi, Oct 12 (UNI) The Supreme Court today remanded to Andhra Pradesh High Court a petition challenging the state government notification providing four per cent reservation to Muslims in educational institution in the state.
A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran, however, directed that interim stay granted by this court against the implementation of the impugned notification, shall, however, continue till the High Court decides the petition on merits.
The petitioner T Murlidhar Rao and another had appealed against the High Court order refusing to stay the implementation of the notification.
The apex court in its order said let the High Court decide the petition on merit.
They have challenged the reservation given to Muslims on the basis of religion contending that there is no provision in the Indian Constitution to provide reservation in the name of religion, and hence, the notification is unconstitutional and is therefore, liable to be struck down.
The state government in its counter affidavit, however, justified the reservation to minorities on the grounds that the Constitution provided reservation to socially, educationally and economically backward sections of the Indian society and minorities cannot be denied the benefits of quota policy because there is no caste system among minorities.
The state government had tried earlier also to provide five per cent reservation to Muslims in professional education institutions like engineering colleges in 2004 and 2005 but both attempts were struck down by the court which declared the earlier notification as illegal.