India court strikes down religious groups’ backward class subquota

Last December, the government of India announced the creation of a 4.5% sub-quota for economically and socially disadvantaged non-Hindu minorities— Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians — within the existing 27% Other Backward Classes (OBC) set-asides for government jobs and education. (See prior posting.) Now, according to a report yesterday by the Economic Times,  the Andhra Pradesh high court has struck down the sub-quota. It held that a sub-quota cannot be based on purely religious grounds. It said that “Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) do not form a homogeneous group.” The sub-quota was widely seen as a political ploy to attract Muslim votes in legislative assembly elections that were upcoming at the time the sub-quota was announced. Indian Express reports that Minority Affairs and Law Minister Salman Khurshid says the court’s decision will be appealed.

From Howard Freidman, Religion Clause