The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that the Karnataka government’s decision to scrap four percent quota for Muslims will not be implemented till May 9 after the state sought time to file its reply.
A bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna said the earlier regime of four percent quota to Muslims will continue to hold field till May 9, when the matter will be heard next, without any prejudice to the contentions to be raised by the state government.
At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state government, said he will be filing the reply during the day.
“I will be filing it today but the problem is I (solicitor general) am in personal difficulty as I am arguing before the constitution bench which is hearing pleas related to same-sex marriage. Kindly put the matter for some other day”, he told the bench.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioners, opposed the request for adjournment by Mehta, and said the hearing has already been deferred four times.
Mehta said the interim order passed by the court is already in the petitioners’ favour.
Dave requested the court to record the submission of Mehta that impugned orders, scrapping the quota for Muslims will not be implemented and the earlier order of March 30, 2002, granting the quota will hold the field till next date of hearing.
The bench agreed with Dave and recorded the submission, while posting the matter for further hearing on May 9.
On April 18, the top court had deferred till April 25 hearing on a batch of pleas challenging scrapping of the four per cent Muslim quota.
It had recorded the assurance given by the state government on April 13 that no quota benefits in admission to educational institutions and appointment in government jobs will be given to Vokkaligas and Lingayats till the next date of hearing.
On April 13, the Karnataka government’s decision to scrap four per cent Muslim quota ahead of the assembly polls came under the scanner of the Supreme Court, which questioned the government order and said prima facie it appeared to be on a “highly shaky ground” and “flawed”.
Taking note of the observations, the Karnataka government had assured the top court that it will put on hold its March 24 orders by which it had given quotas in admission to educational institutions and appointment in government jobs to Vokkaligas and Lingayats, till the next date of hearing.
The four per cent reservation for Muslims was to be equally split between the two communities.
The top court said from the records tabled before it appears that the Karnataka government’s decision is based on “absolutely fallacious assumption”.