Court raps government on Sachar Committee report

May 13th, 2008 - 12:51 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) Terming it an “unconstitutional move”, the Delhi High Court Monday asked the central government why only the Muslim community has been chosen for implementation of the Sachar Committee report while other minority communities were left out. A division bench of Justice T.S.Thakur and Justice Siddharth Mridul, while issuing notice to the central government, observed: “Poverty is a common enemy. It does not come to one community in particular.”

Posing questions to the government, the bench asked: “Does the Sachar Committee recommend facilities to other communities as well?”

“This is an unconstitutional move by the government,” observed the bench.

The court was hearing a public interest petition filed by the Rashtriya Mukti Morcha, a volunatry organisation, which alleged that the committee report and the government’s follow-up action were unconstitutional.

The government, however, rejected the view that it was giving any special treatment to any community.

The government set up a committee, headed by former Delhi High Court judge, Justice Rajinder Sachar, to look into the social, economic and educational status of Muslims and suggest ways to improve it. The committee’s report was presented to parliament Nov 30, 2006.

Advocate P.N. Lekhi, who filed the petition, sought to know whether the Sachar panel report had not treated Muslims “in a manner inconsistent with the treatment given to other recognised minorities”.

The public suit also raised the question “whether it was tainted with the logic of racial compartmentalisation and communitarianism, whether it did not promise the rise of political Islam in India in violation of the constitution, and whether Muslims, who had ‘ruled’ the peninsula, could be treated as a minority.”

Lekhi said any promotion of Muslims as a religious minority would result in “destruction” of the secular polity promised by the constitution and was thus against its basic structure.

“The petition wishes to know whether the terms of reference of the Sachar Committee are not an extension of the Pakistan Resolution of 1940 made in Lahore,” he said.

Lekhi claimed the Sachar Committee report ran contrary to all Supreme Court judgements on secularism.

Arguing that the committee’s recommendations were irrational, Lekhi claimed that the panel itself had said that in nine states Muslims were educationally more advanced than other communities.

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