//Supreme Court rejects Andhra's Muslim quota petition

Supreme Court rejects Andhra's Muslim quota petition

New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday rejected an application filed by the Andhra Pradesh government seeking directions to reserve five percent seats in educational institutions in the state for Muslims during the academic year 2006-07.

A bench of Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Justice C.K. Thakker observed that if the application were entertained it would virtually amount to staying an Andhra Pradesh high court judgment quashing quotas for Muslims.

The bench said that a well-considered order was passed Jan 4 refusing to stay the impugned judgment and it did not want to interfere with that order.

The state in its application said that the high court had struck down the 'Andhra Pradesh Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments to Posts in Public Services under the State to Muslim Community Act, 2005' as unconstitutional and as violative of articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the constitution.

On a special leave petition filed by the state challenging the high court judgment, the apex court by an interim order of Jan 4 declined to stay the operation of the judgment and posted the matter for hearing by a five-Judge constitution bench.

The application said the state government had implemented the reservations for Muslims during 2005-2006. For the academic year 2006-2007, the admission process was about to begin at various educational institutions, especially engineering and medicine colleges.

The state government submitted that it had an obligation to ensure that admissions took place every year in a uniform manner and the student community would not be prejudiced if admissions were made by extending reservations to Muslims for 2006-2007.