A seven-judge bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court headed by chief justice A R Dave on Monday struck down as ‘unsustainable’ the state law providing 4% reservation in educational institutions and jobs for 15 Muslim groups deemed backward by the state government.
The bench described findings of the AP Backward Classes Commission — on which the quota law had been based — as ‘unscientific’. In a 5-2 majority ruling, the court found that the Commission neither evolved any criteria nor published these before inviting objections. It had merely stated it had followed the two criteria evolved by the Mandal Commission for identification of (Socially Economic Backward Classes) SEBCs among non-Hindu community.
Chief Justice Dave, speaking for himself and Justices A Gopala Reddy, V Eswaraiah and G Raghuram, faulted the enactment and said it was religion-specific and potentially encouraged conversions and was thus unsustainable.
Within hours of the verdict, AP Chief Minister K Rosaiah said his government would move Supreme Court in appeal and vowed to restore the ‘AP Reservation in Favour of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of Muslims Act, 2007’.