The Supreme Court today took serious exception to political statements being made on an ongoing case related to the withdrawal of four per cent reservation for Muslims in Karnataka. More sanctity needs to be maintained when there is a court order, the top court said, while adjourning to July the pleas against the Karnataka government’s decision to scrap the decades-old four per cent reservation in the OBC category for Muslims in the state.
Public statements should not be made on sub judice matters, the court said, adding that they have nothing to do with politics.
The petitioners complained about a recent statement made by Home Minister Amit Shah on the issue ahead of the May 10 Karnataka elections. Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioners, said Mr Shah was “proudly saying” that his party has withdrawn the quota to Muslims.
“Why, when the matter is sub judice, should such statements be made by anyone?” Justice BV Nagarathna asked.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the government, claimed the court wasn’t told about the context or the content of Mr Shah’s remark.
“If someone says they are principally against religion-based reservation, it is completely justified,” Mr Mehta argued, after which the court said it just wants discipline to be maintained.
“You saying that four per cent reservation is unconstitutional, from this podium as SG and counsel appearing in this case…You can make this statement. But someone else from a public place making a statement…completely different,” Justice BV Nagarathna told Tushar Mehta.
Tushar Mehta sought deferment due to an ongoing hearing in the same-sex marriage case.
The bench directed that the interim orders passed in the last hearing would continue till further orders and listed the matter in July.
The top court had said Karnataka’s earlier regime granting four per cent reservation to Muslims will continue till May 9, the eve of polling for assembly elections, after the state government had sought more time to file its reply.
On April 26, the Karnataka government told the top court it has taken a “conscious decision” to not continue with reservation on the sole basis of religion as it is unconstitutional and it has, therefore, scrapped the provision of a four per cent quota for the Muslim community.
The state government filed its reply to a batch of petitions challenging its two orders dated March 27, scrapping the four per cent quota for Muslims in 2B category of the ‘Other Backward Castes’ and granting benefits of increased quota to Vokkaligas and Lingayats in admissions and appointments to government jobs.