State fields brickbats after Apex court order

Jul 17, 2018, 07:11 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Vinod Tawde blames UPA regime for agreeing to keep backward class students out of reservation purview

State fields brickbats after Apex court order

Asked by the Opposition what the government would do to ensure reservation for backward class students in minority colleges in Mumbai University, a facility struck down by the Supreme Court last week, education minister Vinod Tawde responded with, "You will call us anti-Christian and anti-Muslim if we take action against minority institutes that don't fill minority students' quota in degree colleges."

In the Assembly on Monday, Tawde said either the Centre should get the Opposition's assistance in changing the law made by the UPA in 2005 despite opposition from the BJP, or the state government should take action against minority institutions that violate provisions of a compulsory intake of 51% minority students. "These institutes fulfill a condition of ensuring 50% members from minority on its directors' board, but not all adhere to the compulsion of admitting 51% students from minority classes," Tawde said.

NCP's senior leader Chhagan Bhujbal had raised the question during a calling attention motion. He said since the (linguistic or religious) minority institutes would not admit students in degree colleges from Backward Classes, Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and other socially backward classes (after the apex court verdict), the state government should come out with a compulsory education quota. He said cities like Mumbai had the maximum number of minority institutes, and backward class students were set to suffer a big blow. Bhujbal blamed the state government for not presenting its side forcefully before the court.

Tawde said the state had represented itself last Friday in the most convincing manner, but the Supreme Court said it had already rejected two similar cases in the past, and could not do anything on this one. Tawde blamed the UPA regime for denying Backward Class students their due. "When the law was passed in 2005, a BJP MP Vijay Malhotra had opposed it. It was strange that the parties that invoke Mahatma Phule, Shahu Maharaj and Dr Ambedkar [all social reformers who struggled hard for a quota in education and jobs], had done such a sad thing."

The case
The Supreme Court dismissed special leave petitions (SLP) filed by the Maharashtra government and the University of Mumbai challenging HC's verdict on the same case, which came in October last year. In 2001, Maharashtra Association of Minority Education Institutions had challenged a 1997 state government resolution (GR) requiring minority institutes to reserve seats for socially backward students. HC stayed the GR and then scrapped the resolution.

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