Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Wednesday ruled out bringing an ordinance to enable 5 per cent reservation for Muslims in education. “Currently, there is no provision in the existing laws to facilitate such a move,” he said.
The matter demanding reservation for Muslims in education was raised by Congress-NCP members in both Houses of the state legislature. Leader of the Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, senior NCP leaders Ajit Pawar and Chhagan Bhujbal said the government should seriously consider reservation for Muslims. Since the court had upheld the reservation for Muslims in education, they said, nothing stopped the government from issuing a fresh ordinance.
The Opposition leaders argued that they had given consent for 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in education during their regime. However, after the ordinance lapsed, the BJP-Shiv Sena government did not re-issue the ordinance.
Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said, “The government is not against reservation for Muslims. But it would consider the decision after seeing the court order.” A public interest litigation on the matter is pending in the Bombay High Court.
Earlier, the government argued that the court had while upholding reservation for Muslims in education struck down the same for jobs. Moreover, he said, there was no constitutional provision that allowed reservation based on religion.
Education Minister Vinod Tawde said, “Under Other Backward Caste, there is a large number of Muslims who already avail the quota.”