New Delhi: The Gujarat government has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that the Rajinder Sachar Committee was unconstitutional, and that it’s "target was to help Muslims only".
The affidavit, filed in response to the Centre's stand that the scheme was valid and that the Modi government was to blame for the "deteriorating condition" of Muslims in Gujarat, has termed UPA's pre-matriculation minority scholarship scheme as "arbitrary and discriminatory."
It also strongly criticized the manner in which the PMO set up the Sachar panel in 2005 to survey the socio-economic conditions of Muslims, while ignoring other religious minorities.
"The Sachar Committee is neither constitutional nor statutory. It has not taken into consideration other religious communities, i.e. Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis. Therefore, it cannot form the basis of the scheme... The Committee's target was to help the Muslims only," the State, which wants the scheme struck down, has contended.
In a majority decision, the Gujarat High Court had rejected Narendra Modi government’s contention that Centre’s pre-matriculation scholarship scheme for students of minority community was discriminatory and directed it to implement it.
The Gujarat government moved the Supreme Court challenging the Gujarat HC verdict upholding the constitutional validity of the scheme.
Gujarat government argued the Centre's scholarship for minorities is a scheme based on religion and the Centre cannot compel the state to implement it and that a similar scheme was in place in the state for all poor students irrespective of their religion.
Targeting the Modi government specifically over socio-economic conditions of Muslims in Gajarat, the Centre in its affidavit had defended the scheme, while asserting that the 2002 riots had increased the sense of alienation among Muslims in Gujarat and further reduced their participation in the mainstream.