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Cannot give quota for Muslims, says Maharashtra government

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No such provision in law, no court rulings support it, says Minority minister

The Maharashtra government has once again ruled out reservations for Muslims.

Speaking during a debate on a calling attention motion raised by the Opposition, Minorities Development Minister Vinod Tawde ruled out reservation for the community on religious grounds, citing various court rulings.

The community is already receiving benefits under the Other Backward Class category and there was no need for a religion-based reservation, the Minister said.

The issue was raised in the Council on Friday by members of the Opposition. Allegations flew on both sides, with each claiming to have done much for the community.

Leader of the Congress Sharad Ranpise said the community must be given the promised 5% reservation in jobs and educational institutions.

In response, the Minister asked what was the need for the community to have reservation on religious grounds when it was anyway getting benefits under various schemes. “The government is sensitive towards the demands of all communities. But there is no provision in existing laws to give reservation on the basis of religion,” he said. “What has the Congress done for the community when it was in the power? At least our government has remained committed to the development of all sections and classes of the society.”

The minister’s dismissal of the motion agitated the Opposition members, who entered the well of the House. The commotion forced the Chairman to call off proceedings for some time.

Mr. Tawde said the Congress is cornered after its recent defeat at the hands of the Vanchit BahujanAghadi in the Lok Sabha elections. “This alliance -- of Dalits and Muslims -- has hurt the Congress the most. It is trying to make up for that.”

In the winter session of the legislature last year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too had ruled out reservation for Muslims on religious grounds citing Supreme Court and High Court rulings. Muslim legislators had then alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government was deliberately scuttling quota demands for the community, which was granted reservation by the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party. The 5% reservation granted to the community by the Congress-NCP in 2014 was struck down by the courts along with the ordinance that had cleared 16% quota to theMarathas.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 5:20:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cannot-give-quota-for-muslims-says-maharashtra-government/article28104286.ece

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