The decision to abolish 4% quota for Muslims in Karnataka under the 2B category was taken as the Constitution doesn’t allow for reservation based on religion, senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah told News18 Kannada in an exclusive interview, denying any electoral motive to the move.
“We have not cancelled 2B. We have abolished Muslim reservation. Our Constitution does not allow reservation on the basis of religion. It is not constitutional, that’s why we removed it. There has been a little delay in doing it,” Shah said.
“This is not a decision taken for elections. The BJP has always been against reservation on the basis of religion,” he added.
Asked about the move being challenged in court, the Home Minister said: “If you want to know the legal limits of this, we have not abolished reservation among Backward Muslims who do wage labour as per the report of the Backward Commission. Because it is not on the basis of religion, but on the basis of Backward Caste. 2B reservation was for the entire Muslim community on the basis of religion. So we removed it. That is why we have taken this decision constitutionally.”
He added that Backward Muslims in the state will continue to get reservation under the EWS category. “The non-reserved communities on the basis of religion are accommodated in EWS. There is no Muslim reservation in Gujarat. However, there is reservation in EWS for children from economically backward Muslim communities. But that reservation is not available to the entire Muslim community,” Shah said.
The BJP government in Karnataka had on March 24 decided to abolish the 4% reservation for Muslims under 2B category. The 4% was later split into two and distributed among Vokkaligas in 2C category and Lingayats in 2D category.
The state government announced two new categories of reservation and divided the 4% Muslim quota between the Vokkaligas and Lingayats, the two numerically dominant and politically influential communities. Muslims eligible for quotas were categorised under the economically weaker sections.
The state government’s decision also pushed the reservation limit to around 57% now.
On April 13, the Karnataka government’s decision came under the scanner of the Supreme Court, which questioned the government order and said prima facie it appeared to be on a “highly shaky ground” and “flawed”.
Taking note of the observations, the Karnataka government had assured the top court that it will put on hold its order till the next date of hearing.
On April 25, the Supreme Court said the 4% reservation to Muslims will continue to hold the field till May 9, the eve of voting in Karnataka elections, when the top court will hear the batch of petitions on the issue.
With inputs from News18