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Minority scholarship: SC notice to Centre on appeal challenging Kerala HC order

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai issued notices to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Kerala State Commission for Minorities and others on the state government's appeal and sought their replies within four weeks.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Updated: October 30, 2021 6:25:12 am
Supreme Court. (File photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on the Kerala government’s appeal against the High Court order quashing the state’s scheme to provide minority scholarships to Muslims and Christians in 80:20 ratio.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai also issued notice on an application seeking stay of the HC order but did not stay it on Friday.

When a counsel appearing for a private party sought a stay, the bench cautioned that it will dismiss the stay application if he presses it.

The HC had set aside the 80:20 scheme, saying that the state has to treat both minority communities equally. The HC had directed that the scholarship must be distributed among the notified minorities in accordance with their population proportion as per the latest census.

The ruling Left government challenged this in HC, terming the court’s decision “irrational” and “erroneous”.

In its order, the HC had said, “Here is a case where without taking into account the entitlement of the Christian minority community within the state available from the population ratio, (the) State is indulging in providing scholarship to the Muslim minority community at 80 per cent, which, according to us, is an unconstitutional act and unsupported by any law.”

It also said that “mere executive orders issued by the State Government cannot overreach the provisions of the Minority Commissions Acts, 1992 and 2014, and the imperatives contained [in] 1992 and 2014, and the imperatives contained under the provisions of the Constitution of India discussed above. Article 29 also casts a duty to protect the educational interests of the minority community in equal measure and not in a discriminatory manner”.

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