The Kerala High Court comprising bench Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly in Arun Roy v State of Kerala case issued notice to the State Government, the Institute of Career Studies & Research (ICSR), the Center for Continuing Education Kerala (CCEK), and the Kerala State Civil Service Academy.
On Wednesday the Kerala High Court issued notice to the State government in a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed before it challenging the 50% reservation for Muslims at a state-run coaching center for Civil Service aspirants, the Institute of Career Studies & Research (ICSR)
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly issued notice to the State Government and ICSR as well as the Center for Continuing Education Kerala (CCEK), and the Kerala State Civil Service Academy.
The PIL was moved by an advocate practicing before the Kerala High Court, challenging the reservation at the ICSR as being unconstitutional.
Apart from contending the reservation of 50 percent seats for Muslim candidates, the plea also claimed an additional 10 percent reservation for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes also exists.
Moreover, the plea also highlighted that ICSR has also waived the tuition fees for the reserved category candidates.
The PIL contended that since the respondents are “State” within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution, granting 50% reservation on the basis of the religion of the candidates, is violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution.
In the context of Kerala state, the Muslims are included in SEBC and OBC lists but the plea said that the reservation at ICSR is not reservation granted to an OBC or SEBC category, but to Muslims based on their religious identity.
Further, the plea claimed that even assuming that the reservation is only for Muslims belonging to SEBC and OBC groups, the petitioner argued that granting reservation to only one among the backward classes, to the exclusion of others, is unconstitutional and violates the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
The pleas pinpointed, the total reservation in the Institute exceeds 50%, and hence the violative of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney & Ors. v Union of India & Ors. and reiterated in Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil v Chief Minister, Maharashtra (Maratha’s reservation case).
The PIL further alleged the political executive, who are extending undue benefits to a particular religious community which is against the constitutional value of secularism.
“The State should never be party to an illegal attempt to increase the number of persons in the administrative services from a particular religious community. Cadres of the Administrative Services play a pivotal role in the administration of this diverse country. Any attempt to manipulate the composition of the Services will have deleterious effect,” The plea stated.
In the present context of reservation in state run body, the petitioner sought a declaration that the present model of reservation at ICSR and the tuition fee waiver are illegal and unconstitutional.
The petitioner advocate
Advocates S Prasanth and K Arjun Venugopal.