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Kerala moves Supreme Court against HC order quashing scholarship to Muslims, Christians

According to the Petition, the High Court committed a "grave error" by directing to extend the minority scholarship scheme to all notified minorities in the proportion of the population, without ascertaining any study regarding backwardness.

Kerala has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Kerala High Court’s order which quashed the government scheme to provide minority scholarship to Muslims and Christians in the of ratio 80:20.

According to the Petition, the High Court committed a “grave error” by directing to extend the minority scholarship scheme to all notified minorities in the proportion of the population, without ascertaining any study regarding backwardness.

The State Government in its petition stated that the minority scholarship scheme was introduced on the basis of the reports of Justice Rajender Sachar Committee and Paloli Mohammad Kutty Committee (which was constituted by the State Government subsequent to Sachar Committee report) regarding the educational backwardness in the Muslim community.

The petition further states that in January 2011, the State Government extended the benefit of the scholarships given to Muslim girl students to certain members of the other minority community.

The State argues that providing scholarships on the basis of population ratio, without conducting a study to ascertain the eligibility would result in arbitrary distribution of scholarships to ineligible candidates.

To ascertain the educational backwardness of the Christian community, it has constituted a committee headed by a retired High Court judge, the state government further states.

The State further argued that Article 29 of the Constitution does not bar the State Government from providing higher percentage of scholarship to a minority community that is more backward.

The classification of the Muslim community for giving higher percentage of scholarships would stand the scrutiny of Article 15(4) of the Constitution as the educational backwardness is the characteristic of the said class and not on the basis of religion, contended the state government.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly on May 28 had set aside the 80:20 minority scholarship scheme in a PIL filed by a Christian person challenging the scheme.

The High Court had further directed that the minority scholarship must be distributed equally amongst the notified minorities in accordance with their population proportion as per the latest census.

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