New Delhi: Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has officially decided to scrap the decision of providing reservation in education to the Muslim community in Maharashtra.
Govt had earlier stated that it was against reservation on religious grounds. However the govt also not indicated the plans to introduce a law to replace the ordinance, which lapsed in December last year, reports Indian Express.
“The ordinance dated December 23, 2014 could not be converted into an Act. In view of this situation, we have decided to scrap this ordinance,” said a circular issued on Tuesday by the General Administration Department.
Fadnavis' successors, the Congress-NCP government had issued an ordinance on July 11, 2014 allowing 16 % quota to the Marathas and 5% in education and jobs to 50 Muslims communities by including them under a newly formed category — Special Backward Category-A.
After the decision was challenged, the reservation for Marathas was however struck down during a hearing in Bombay High Court but quota for muslims continued in education and not jobs.
Meanwhile BJP came into the power in Maharashtra and challenged the overturning of quota for Marathas and appointed a committee to suggest potential solutions, but did not make a similar move to examine the HC order on Muslim reservation in jobs.
The state government also allowed the ordinance to lapse on December 23 and chose not to extend it, thus forfeiting a chance for Muslims to obtain reservations in the education sector as allowed by the High Court.
In a three-page order, the state government stated that the Bombay High Court has set aside a clause of the ordinance that provides for five per cent reservation for the community in government jobs and, therefore, it has taken the decision to scrap the ordinance.
Officials in the State Minority Development Department said there was no immediate plan to allow reservation for Muslims in Maharashtra. Principal Secretary Jayashree Mukherjee declined to comment on the issue. Fadnavis, too, was unavailable for comment.
CM Fadnavis held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss ways of ensuring the development of minorities in the state. However it came under fire when the former minority development minister Arif Naseem Khan branded the BJP government as “communal”.
“The CM announces that the development of the state is not possible if condition of Muslims does not improve. On the other hand the government is doing all that it can to ensure that Muslims remain backward. The demand and need for reservations for Muslims is based on empirical and sound data. It is the communal nature of the government which is creating a hurdle in their rights,” Khan said.
The Congress-NCP government had decided to provide reservations to Muslims based on the recommendations of the Mehmood-ur-Rahman committee, formed to assess the socio-economic conditions of Muslims in Maharashtra.
The committee, which took five years to come to a conclusion, had recommended eight per cent reservation in the state, education and housing — both public and private. It had also asked for an anti-discrimination Act for Muslims on the lines of the Atrocity Act.