Other minority communities had complained that 80 percent of the scholarships were earmarked for the Muslim community alone, unlike in any other state. The case then came up in the High Court. The High Court scrapped the 80:20 ratio after finding out that the Christian minority was eligible for the scholarship in proportion to its population and that 80 percent of the scholarships were earmarked for the Muslim community without considering this. The court also pointed out that minority commissions are not just for the welfare of one particular community. While this was welcomed by Christian organizations, other organizations, including the Muslim League, argued that the benefits received through the Sachar committee should be given to the Muslim community, given the backwardness. Following this, the government consulted some of the country’s leading legal experts and decided to offer scholarships to all the minority communities on the basis of their population in the 2011 census. As per the Census, Kerala has a minority population of 26.56% Muslims, 18.38% Christians, 0.01% Buddhists, 0.01% Jain community, and 0.01% Sikh population. The government has made it clear that there will not be any reduction in the number or the number of scholarships for the current beneficiaries. So, there is no need to worry for those who are getting the ratio now. When the new census comes, if the population increases, the proportion will increase accordingly.
The court order is based on law and the constitution. A democratic government must abide by it. The possibility of a favorable decision from the apex court is slim even if an appeal is filed against the new decision. Hence the decision taken by the government is to be welcomed. Those criticizing the government must realize that there is no other way before the government for the time being. The state cabinet also decided to sanction a non-budgetary allocation of Rs 6.2 crore as a sum of Rs 23.51 crore is required for distributing scholarships for all current beneficiaries. In the past, government scholarships could not be often disbursed on time due to the inadequacy of funds. Even if it is a small amount, the benefit is greater if it is received on time. If the government wants to help a particular community, it can create another system just for them. The government has appointed the JB Koshy Commission to study Christian backwardness. After going through the report of the commission, the government can prepare alternative arrangements only for Christians. At the same time, it would be discriminatory not to treat all communities under the Minority Commission equally. The High Court pointed out this discrimination. It would also be a good thing if the government decides to give scholarships to any gifted and financially backward student without considering the community.
Courtesy – Kaumudi Online