The Supreme Court has directed the Karnataka government to keep its decision to scrap the 4 percent Muslim quota in abeyance till May 9. The apex court adjourned the hearing in a petition challenging the Karnataka government’s decision after the state sought time to file its reply on the matter. The bench of justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna said the matter will continue to be on hold until it is heard next. This decision comes after the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the state government, sought adjournment citing a personal difficulty in arguing before the constitution bench which is hearing pleas related to same-sex marriage.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who was appearing for the petitioners, opposed the request for adjournment by Mehta. He said that the hearing has already been deferred four times in the past. Mehta pointed out that the interim order passed earlier already favored the petitioners, but Dave requested the court to record Mehta’s submission that the impugned orders, which are about scrapping the quota for Muslims, will not be implemented shortly.
Interestingly, the bench agreed with Dave and recorded the submission. The court also deferred the matter for further hearing on May 9 this year. The top court had earlier deferred a batch of pleas challenging the scrapping of the four percent Muslim quota till April 25. The court has also recorded the assurance given by the state government on April 13 that no quota benefits in admission to educational institutions and appointment in government jobs will be given to Vokkaligas and Lingayats till the next date of hearing.
Earlier this month, the Karnataka government decided to scrap the four percent Muslim quota ahead of the assembly polls, which came under the scanner of the Supreme Court. The court had questioned the government order and said that prima facie it appeared to be on a “highly shaky ground” and “flawed.” The court has now directed the state government to keep the decision on hold until the next hearing.