To ensure free and fair elections
The Election Commission on Wednesday ordered the Union Ministry of Personnel not to give effect to the December 22, 2011 office memorandum, providing a 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities within the 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes in Central government jobs and educational institutions, in the five poll-bound States.
The direction will be applicable until after the completion of the Assembly election process in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.
The EC took into account the fact that the decision on sub-quota was announced by the Centre on December 22, before the model code came into force, i.e. on December 24, when the poll schedule was announced.
The EC said it was brought to its notice that the order had been issued in violation of the model code, and that it took the decision to ensure a free and fair poll.
Sources in the EC drew attention to the Sections in the model code relating to parties, candidates and the State/Central governments. Para 1(3): There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.
Para VII: The party in power, whether at the Centre or in the State or States concerned, shall ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for purposes of its campaign.
Para VII (vi): From the time elections are announced, Ministries and other authorities shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof ......, which may have the effect of influencing voters in favour of the party in power.
Many parties, particularly the BJP, had strongly opposed the Cabinet decision and said the announcement was made as an inducement to Muslims, who are in sizable numbers in Uttar Pradesh. The decision would benefit Muslims more than other minorities as there were many Muslim communities designated as OBCs, the parties said.