Muslim quota to go down to 58.67%

Christians to get 40.6% and other minorities 0.73%

KOCHI The minority scholarship quota for Muslims will be reduced drastically from 80% to 58.67% whereas the share of the entire Christian community would be nearly 40.6% with the Kerala High Court ordering a population-based allocation of the merit-cum-means scholarship for the minorities. The other minority communities including Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains, can stake claim for the remaining 0.73%.

The court had on Friday scrapped the 80:20 ratio of distribution of the benefits and struck down three orders in this regard.

The scholarship has its genesis in the Rajinder Sachar Commission report, which looked into the socio, economic and educational conditions of Muslims in India and the subsequent Paloli Mohammad Kutty committee report, which suggested steps for implementing the recommendations of the commission report in Kerala. Both committees had exclusively looked into the issues faced by the Muslims and suggested measures for alleviating them.

It was during the fag end of the tenure of the Left Democratic Front government led by V.S. Achuthanandan in 2011 that the benefits, originally meant for the Muslims, were extended to Latin Catholic and converted Christians. As much as 20% of the benefits had been enjoyed by Latin Catholics and converted Christians since then.

“The LDF government decided to extend the benefits of the scheme, originally meant for Muslims, to the Latin and converted Christians after the Paloli committee report noted that the two communities were equally backward as the Muslims of Kerala,” said K. T. Jaleel, a member of the Paloli committee.

The decision was taken after considering the sensitive socio-economic balance and political situation of the State, he said.

Raju Joseph, senior lawyer who represented the petitioner in the High Court, felt that the three government orders issued in connection with the scholarship lacked legal basis and they went against the basic principles of secularism and equality enshrined in the Constitution.

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