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Muslims Can't Be Treated As Special Class Entitled For Benefits Available To Backward Classes: Plea In Supreme Court Against Sachar Committee Report

Srishti Ojha
29 July 2021 11:58 AM GMT
Muslims Cant Be Treated As Special Class Entitled For Benefits Available To Backward Classes: Plea In Supreme Court Against Sachar Committee Report
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A plea has been filed before the Supreme Court against the implementation of the Sachar Committee Report which recommends welfare schemes in favour of Muslim minority community.The plea moved by six followers of Sanatan Vedic Dharm has argued that their rights along with rights of similarly situated Hindus are being infringed due to the Sachar Committee report.The plea filed through...

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A plea has been filed before the Supreme Court against the implementation of the Sachar Committee Report which recommends welfare schemes in favour of Muslim minority community.

The plea moved by six followers of Sanatan Vedic Dharm has argued that their rights along with rights of similarly situated Hindus are being infringed due to the Sachar Committee report.

The plea filed through Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain has challenged the notification dated 9.3.2005 issued from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Office, constituting a High-Level Committee to prepare a report on the social, economic and educational status of Muslim community under the Chairmanship of Justice Rajender Sachar. Further, it has sought directions to restrain the Government of India from acting upon and implementing the report submitted by the committee on 17th November 2006.

The petitioners have argued that it's clear the then Prime Minister Mr Manmohan Singh on his own whims issued the direction appointing the committee to enquire into the social, economic and educational status of Muslim community, as the 2005 notification nowhere mentions that it was being issued after any cabinet decision. 

While stating that under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution, no religious community can be treated separately, the petitioners have further argued that the power to appoint a commission to investigate into the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes vests with the President of India under Article 340 of the Constitution of India.

According to the petitioners, the entire Muslim community has not been identified as socially and educationally backward class and therefore, Muslims as a religious community cannot be treated as a special class entitled for benefits available to backward classes.

Comparing the social and economic situation of the Muslim community with persons belong to SC and ST category, the plea has stated that "Muslim community is not entitled for any special treatment for the simple reason that they were the rulers for long number of years and even during British rule they enjoyed and shared the power, whereas SC/ST category and OBCs of Hindu community were suppressed, tortured, butchered, converted either by force or by allurement and had to face atrocities in pre-independent era."

Appointment of Sachar Committee Violative of Indian Constitution

The plea has argued that the appointment of the Committee was made in violation of Article 77 of the Constitution of India and is therefore unconstitutional and illegal, for the following reasons: 

• The then Prime Minister Mr Manmohan Singh without any cabinet decision on his own passed an order appointing Sachar committee, and the order was not issued in accordance with Article 77 of the Constitution of India.

• Only the President of India can appoint a commission in exercise of the powers under Article 340 of the Constitution of India to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes and to make recommendations to improve their conditions.

• No commission or committee can be appointed to investigate into the conditions of any particular religious committee.

• Article 299 of the draft constitution made proposal for appointing Special Officer for minorities for the Union and the States to investigate on all matters relating to the safe guard provided for minorities under the Constitution.

• A proposal which was considered and rejected by the Constituent Assembly cannot be enforced by indirect extra constitutional methods by issuing an order by the PMO: The plea has stated that Constituent assembly in its meeting held on 14.10.1949 discussed the proposal for making investigation about the conditions of religious communities. 

The Assembly had accepted the amendment moved by Mr.K.M.Munshi, advocating for appointment of Special Officer by the President only for Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes to investigate all matters relating to safeguards provided to them in the Constitution.

However, after lengthy deliberations regarding grant of special right to minorities rejected the proposal and of appointing a Special Officer to look into the matters relating to religious minorities.

Unity Of People Of India Should Not Be Allowed To Weaken Due To Lust For Power Of Disgruntled Politicians: 

According to the petitioners, the Constitution was framed to unite the people of the Country and strengthen the sovereignty and integrity which should not be allowed to weaken due to the lust for power prevailing in the minds of some disgruntled politicians arousing the feeling amongst the minority communities to make demand and for that purpose allure them. 

Sachar committee ignored Society's ground realities & Showed Undue Favour To Muslims: While stating that the Committee has shown undue favour to Muslim community, the petitioners have argued that it failed to consider that the Muslim Community does not believe in family planning and are not very interested to impart education to their children in schools. 

Committee Did Not Consider Condition Of Hindu Community:

The Petitioners have stated that the committee has not taken into consideration the conditions of the members of Hindu community who are more poor and socially and educationally backward than most of the members of Muslim community. 

"No religious community is entitled for special treatment over and above the similarly situated persons belonging to the same category in other community but the members of Hindu community are being denied such treatment only on the ground of religion which is prohibited by Article 15(1) of the Constitution of India." the plea has argued. 

Recommendations of Sachar Committee If Accepted Would Lead to Communal Havoc in the Country:

According to the petitioners, the committee intents to give Muslim proportionate representation in services. However, the recruitment in service can be made on the basis of eligibility for the post and not on the ground of the creed, caste or religion in view of the provisions contained in Article 14,15 and 16 of the Constitution of India. Therefore it has been argued that if recommendations of Sachar Committee are accepted it would lead to communal havoc in the country.

Committee's Findings That Muslims Face fairly high levels of poverty Completely Erroneous: The petitioners have made note of the Committee's findings that the "analysis of differentials in poverty across SRCs shows that Muslims face fairly high levels of poverty." However according to Petitioners, their conditions on the whole are only slightly better than those of SCs/STs and the findings are therefore erroneous and against the actual facts and ground realties.

Sachar committee's Recommendations Are As If Muslims Have First Right Over All Government Resources: 

The plea as stated that the Sachar committee has failed to consider that religious minorities have not been given any special or extra right except the rights conferred by Article 30 of the Constitution  to establish an educational institution of their choice with right to administer.

Further, it's been argued that there is no provision under which any special provision or schemes can be launched in favour of religious communities simply on the ground that they belong to particular religion.

Therefore while the minorities can claim equality before the law and equal protection of the law they certainly cannot claim any special right or privilege over other citizens.

"The Sachar committee has made a number of recommendations as if the Muslims have first right over all the resources of the Government leaving all the similarly situated depressed class of other communities and such concept is dehors the constitutional mandate." the plea has said.

Open For Muslim OBCs To Approach the Backward Class Commission:

According to the petitioners, the members of Muslim OBCs recognised by Mandal Commission can approach the Backward Class Commission, if they have any grievance relating to the implementation or denial of benefit of any scheme applicable to Backward classes.

Further , since the Backward Class Commission is continuously performing its duty to safeguard the interest of backward classes and to ensure that the benefits and rights given to them are enforced, there is therefore no need to appoint Sachar Committee.

It is also argued that since the Backward Class Commission has been given constitutional status by 102 amendment Act in Article 338-B(5) laying down its duties, the recommendations made by Sachar committee can no longer be taken into consideration.

India's Partition Took Place Under 'Minority Phobia & Separatist Attitude' Of Muslim League:

The petitioners have argued that there is a need to learn from the history, as India's partition also took place under minority phobia and separatist attitude of Muslim League. Therefore, the growth of minoritarianism will be disastrous for the unity and integrity of India and a religious minority should not be separated from the mainstream of national life. 

Further it has been argued that it cannot be said that entire Muslim community is socially and educationally backward, since economic conditions of Muslims are much better in India. Many Muslims are in a position to purchase valuable properties, are in Film industry, occupy important posts in Government services and political offices. 

The petitioners have also cited the case of Bal Patil & Anr. Vs. Union of India & Ors 2005 stating that the top Court had in the case disapproved the growing tendency to seek declaration as the minority community, which led to formation of separate Muslim State, Pakistan.

The plea drafted by Advocate Hari Shankar Jain has sought the following relief from the Top Court: 

• Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction restraining the Government of India from placing reliance/acting upon and implementing the Sachar committee report submitted on17.11.2006 in pursuance of Notification No.850/3/C/3/05-Pol issued from Office of Hon'ble Prime Minister, Government of India on 9.03.2005 for running/initiating any scheme/s in favour of Muslim community or for any other purpose;

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