A seven-member bench of the AP High Court on Monday held that the Act, which was brought out by the state government to providing four per cent reservation to certain backward communities among Muslim, was unsustainable in front of the law.
The bench quashed the GO, which issued by the government earlier to provide reservations.
A majority of five members on the bench agreed with the verdict delivered by the chief justice Anil R. Dave. Two members, Justice B. Prakash Rao and Justice D.S.R Varma, deferred with the judgement.
The state government brought out a Bill in 2007 that provided four per cent reservation to certain backward groups among Muslims in education and jobs.
The Bill was challenged by several individuals and organisations contending that reservations cannot be provided on the basis of a community or religion. They also said that the AP Backward Classes Commission had not conducted a scientific survey to identify backward groups among the community.
The state government defended its action saying that it is a welfare legislation aimed at providing ‘social justice.’ It argued that the issues raised by the petitioners alone cannot be a criteria to decide the Constitutional validity of the Act.
The government contended that the directive principles of state policy as enunciated in the Constitution mandates the “state” to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of people.
A five-member bench heard the batch of petitions relating to the reservation issue till January 2008 and the bench then decided to refer the matter to a seven-member Constitution bench.
The seven-member bench heard the arguments for a year in different spells and reserved its orders in March 2009. It may be recalled that the state government suffered setbacks two times from the High Court on the issue.(DC)