80:20 minority scholarship: Govt buys time as call for appeal grows louder

While the BJP asked government to clarify its stand on the issue, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan treaded a cautious path, saying the verdict needed to be studied in detail.

Published: 30th May 2021 06:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2021 06:39 AM   |  A+A-

P K Kunhalikutty

By Express News Service

KOZHIKODE/ T’PURAM: Repercussions of Friday’s High Court order cancelling the 80:20 division of merit-cum-means scholarship for minority communities among Muslims and Latin Catholic/Converted Christians were felt in the state’s political sphere on Saturday with Muslim organisations demanding the government to file an appeal against the division bench’s order.

While the BJP asked government to clarify its stand on the issue, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan treaded a cautious path, saying the verdict needed to be studied in detail. LDF leader Jose K Mani, whose party KC(M) represents mainly Christians, took a strategic stand by reserving his comment till the verdict is studied in detail.

UDF constituent Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has accused the LDF government led by V S Achuthanandan for deciding 80:20 ratio in allocating the scholarship for minorities and creating confusion, while Muslim organisations in the state, including those support the Left, intensified the demand for going for appeal against the HC order.

Addressing a news conference in Malappuram, League national general secretary P K Kunhalikutty and national secretary E T Muhammed Basheer presented the government order dated January 31, 2011, when the 80:20 ratio was first introduced. 

Will explore ways to challenge HC order legally, says League

Kunhalikutty said the scholarship was introduced to Muslim students as part of implementation of the Sachar commission report. It was the mistake on the part of the LDF government to include Latin Catholics and converted Christians in the scheme, he said.“It was the Paloli Committee that converted the scholarship for backward community to the scheme for all minorities. The order that has been found invalid by the High Court was actually issued by the LDF government,” he said.  

Kunhalikutty said the government that succeeded was constrained to follow the pattern as it was a sensitive issue. But an impression has been created during the assembly elections that it was the UDF government that brought the 80:20 ratio, he said.Muhammed Basheer said the party will explore the ways to challenge the High Court order legally. 

CPM leader Paloli Muhammad Kutty had said that it was the UDF government that introduced the 80: 20 ratio that triggered a communal feeling among a section. He told media that the change was made as a result of the tug-of-war between the Congress and the IUML. Meanwhile, Indian National League (INL), a constituent of the LDF, asked the government to go for an appeal against the High Court order. INL general secretary Kasim Irikkur said the order was the result of a misunderstanding.

Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliyar, who also supports the LDF, said if the government feels it could not present its views effectively before the court, it should think of options such as appeal. In a statement, he said the scholarships that are the last resort of the community should not be lost merely on account of technical reasons. “Backwardness of the Muslim community in education and employment need not be emphasised as it is evident for everyone,” he said. Kanthapuram added that the discussion on the issue should not be diverted in the wrong direction. 

The Samvarana Samrakshana Samithi under the Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulema, expressed the concern that Sangh Parivar had role in making the issue a controversy.  Addressing a news conference, Samithi general convener Abdusamad Pukkoottur said the 80: 20 ratio should be stopped and 100 per cent of the funds should be reinstated to the Muslims. He said there was a lack vigil from the part of the government that led to the judgment.   

While speaking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram, BJP state president K Surendran said the LDF and the government should end their hide and seek policy on the matter. He pointed out that two constituents in the LDF had adopted divergent stance in the wake of the court verdict. “While one party has welcomed the High Court judgment, another party has demanded that the government should go in for appeal against the verdict. The CPM and the Chief Minister should spell out their stance,” said Surendran.

Mizoram Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai, who had intervened in the issue earlier, exhorted all the concerned to imbibe the spirit of the court order. In a statement, he said the verdict is the victory of the constitutional provision that welfare measures should be implemented in an equitable manner. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while replying to queries during a media briefing on Saturday, said all sides of the verdict need to be examined. Asked about Minister M V Govindan’s reported statement that the court verdict should be implemented, Pinarayi said it needs to be seen only as the statement of a Minister who is bound to abide by court verdict.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said:“What the High Court has said and what needs to be done in the wake of the verdict needs to be examined in detail”.


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