Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the government to inform it of its stand on a plea seeking to revise the list of reservation of Backward Classes as per a state Act, to end the "sorry state of affairs" of Muslims in the state.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar gave the direction while considering the plea by the National Minority Charitable Trust. The matter has been posted for July 26.
The Trust submitted that as per the direction of Supreme Court, the Kerala State Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 was enacted and thereafter, the Kerala State Commission for Backward Classes was constituted.
Though Section 11 of the Act mandates periodic revision of reservation lists to exclude classes who have ceased to be Backward Classes (BCs) or for including new BCs. Even after 61 years of statutory reservation, no such revision has been conducted and the rotation chart has never been changed, it said.
Due to this non-revision, the Muslim community, SC/ST and 70 other backward classes have been "grossly under-represented" in the Kerala Public Services, the Trust alleged in the plea.
A study by the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishath and report of Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee authenticate that Muslim representation was "abysmally low" in Kerala Public Services, it said.
"On the contrary, the Ezhava community with lesser population than Muslims is getting adequate representation in public services," the trust claimed.
The Muslim community, the largest backward community in Kerala on account of population, is facing serious "social, economic and educational" backwardness, which makes their backwardness comparable to that of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/STs), the petitioner said.
So, the community is entitled to get all benefits provided to SC/STs and also eligible for special recruitment as per Rule 17A of the Kerala State and Subordinate Service Rules (KSSR), 1958.
The petitioner and other BCs organisations filed various representations to both the respondents, but no action was taken upon the said representations, it said.
To a query made under the Right to Information Act, the Kerala State Backward Classes Development (A) department replied that "no revision has been done since the socio-economic caste survey report is not available".
"Thus, it is beyond any doubt that the State of Kerala has completely disobeyed the specific directions of the Supreme Court," the National Minority Charitable Trust said.
It urged that the state government and Kerala State Commission for Backward Classes be directed to revise the list as directed by the Supreme Court in Vasanta Kumar and Indra Sawhney cases, and determine the degree of backwardness of the Muslim community, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and fix their positions in the rotation chart accordingly.