As per a discriminatory government order passed by the government of Kerala in 2015, it was stated that reservation among Muslims and other minority communities would be in the ratio 80:20, which meant that 80 per cent of all reservations would be set aside for Muslims alone, while 20 per cent of the remaining quotas would be divided between Latin Catholic Christians and other minority communities in the state. This discriminatory policy was brought in by the Congress-led UDF government in 2015, during which time the chief minister was Oomen Chandy.
In a landmark verdict delivered on Friday, the Kerala High Court ruled that the state government’s sub-classification of minorities by providing merit-cum-means scholarship at 80 per cent to the Muslim community and 20 per cent to the Latin Catholic Christians and converted Christians cannot be “legally sustained”. While hearing the petition filed by Advocate Justin Pallivathukkal, the division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shahi P Chaly ruled the benefits should be in proportion to the various minorities.
The Kerala High Court, in its stinging verdict, said, “There is nothing wrong in the state government providing facilities to weaker sections of the community, but when it comes to dealing with the notified minorities, it has to treat them equally, and it is not vested with any powers to treat them unequally, which is quite discernible from the provisions of the Constitution and laws.”
The bench added, “But here is a case where without taking into account entitlement of the Christian minority community within the state available from the population ratio, the State is indulging in providing scholarship to Muslim minority community at 80 per cent, which, according to us, is an unconstitutional act and unsupported by any law.”
According to the petitioner, in Kerala, “there is marked discrimination favouring one minority against other minority communities without any rationale”. While calling the policy of the brazen discrimination against all non-Muslim minorities of Kerala unconstitutional, the High Court directed the Pinarayi Vijayan government to provide merit-cum-means scholarship to all minorities equally and in accordance with the latest population census available with the State Minority Commission.
The latest verdict by the Kerala High Court comes as a huge blow to the incessant and shameful Muslim appeasement which successive Congress and Left-dominated governments of Kerala have indulged in, leaving all other minorities in the lurch. The Pinarayi Vijayan government, with the said verdict, has been put in a tough spot. While the Indian Union Muslim League said the state should make its stand clear on the issue, the Catholic Church has welcomed the order. Vijayan very well now is faced with a scenario in which he will either have to choose Muslims or Christians.