Apex court takes up Gujarat refusing scholarship to minorities
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has refused to stay Gujarat High Court’s order directing the Narendra Modi government to implement the federal scheme for religious minority communities.
The Gujarat government had refused to give pre-matriculation scholarships to students belonging Buddhist, Christian, Jain, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian religions. It argued that such schemes violated the secular values the Indian Constitution upholds.
However, a five-judge bench of the Gujarat High Court earlier upheld the federal scheme as valid. Following this, students whose family income was below 100,000 rupees were to get the scholarships.
Gujarat has an estimated 600,000 students eligible for the scholarship. Each of them was legally entitled to around 850 rupees a month.
Instead of paying the scholarship, the government of the Bharatiya Janata Party, challenged the High Court order in the apex court, reported The Times of India.
On May 6, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court issued notices to the parties involved in the case. The court has kept further hearing for August, said Ejaz Maqbool, a lawyer representing the Islamic Relief Committee in the case.
The matter came to the High Court through a Public Interest Litigation filed by lawyer Hashim Quereshi after the Times of India reported the matter.