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Andhra Muslims get job quota, courts cry foul

Andhra Muslims get job quota, courts cry foul

Author: Shaik Ahmed Ali
Publication: IBNLive.com
Date: February 4, 2008
URL: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/andhra-muslims-get-job-quota-courts-cry-foul/58076-3.html

Despite ongoing legal battles, Andhra Pradesh has started implementing 4 per cent quota for Muslims in government jobs. The state government, on Saturday, handed letters to 10 Muslim candidates appointing them as engineers in the Energy Department.

Shaik Gugudu Vali and Shaik Yasmeen are among the first beneficiaries of the new job-quota for Muslims. As per the amended Muslim Reservation Act, 'Shaiks' have been classified as socially and economically backward. There are thirteen other Muslim castes who will get the same benefit as the Sheiks.

An earlier attempt by the Congress government to give 5 per cent reservation to Muslims was challenged in court. It responded by reducing it to 4 per cent, and creating castes among Muslims by bringing in a new legislation.

"We brought in another legislation. Lot of work has gone behind this legislation and we started giving reservation in both educational institutions and in employment," Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy said.

Now, even this new move has been challenged in court. However, the government claims that the ongoing cases in the High Court and Supreme Court are not related to job quota.

"We took reports from legal experts including the Advocate General and they told us that in High Court and Supreme Court only a part of the Act has been challenged and it's confined to reservation in educational institutions and not employment," Minorities Welfare Minister Mohammad Ali Shabbir said.

Meanwhile, legal and constitutional experts are not buying the minister's argument.

"According to Articles 15 and 16, there can be no reservation based on caste, creed and religion," Supreme Court advocate ML Lahoty said.

But that is not the only controversy surrounding the Act. Many feel that most of the beneficiaries are neither poor nor backward like Shaik Gugudu Vali, who said, "I have five family members. All are engineers. One is working in Vidyut Souda, one in Hindustan Aeronautics, one is a software engineer and another one did her B-Tech, but she is housewife."

The government has also issued a notification to all its departments asking them to fill 4 per cent vacancies with Muslims, this even as the courts are yet to give the verdict.

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