4% Quota: The Supreme Court Hearing

The Congress Government was quite serious on getting an interim stay on 4% Muslim quota in the Supreme Court. It was not only the issue of Congress party’s prestige, but the question of career of thousands of poor Muslims. We wanted the quota in education and jobs to continue at any cost. Since those who challenged the Muslim reservation had contacted several leading lawyers like Shri. Nariman, Shri. Soli Sorabjee, we also wanted a senior counsel to argue the case in the Supreme Court.

We had a meeting in New Delhi to discuss and finalise the strategy. The meeting was attened by Attorney General of India Goolamhussein Essaji Vahanvati, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily, me and a few other experts. It was decided that the Andhra Pradesh Government’s counsel would argue the case in the Supreme Court. Since senior counsel Harish Salve was representing the opposition, we found it very difficult to find another counsel who could argue in favour of reservation. We finally zeroed in on Mr. Parasaramji and decided to approach him with a request to argue the case. He was then 80 years old. He expressed his inability to argue the case as he was busy with his Shastipoorti, the celebration of 60 years of his marriage.

We were both upset and worried as we could not think of an alternative. During discussion with a few friends, I learnt that Mr. Parasaramji and then Chief Minister Mr. K. Rosaiah were good friends. Mr. Parasaramji had served as an Advocate General of Madras before the formation of Andhra Pradesh and he knew Mr. Rosaiah Ji since then. I then convinced Rosaiah Ji to visit New Delhi to meet Mr. Parasaramji.

Some politicians make tall claims on secularism and them being pro-Muslims. But when it comes to action, they do not act positively or at least behave in a reserved manner. But the case of Mr. Rosaiah was entirely different. He did something which was never heard of any politician. Despite being the Chief Minister of country’s fifth largest State, Mr. Rosaiah visited Delhi only to meet a senior counsel. He visited his house. There was no crowd or media crew which could have brought him some publicity.

Mr. Rosaiah is over 6 feet tall while Mr. Parasaramji is about 5 feet. With folded hands, Mr. Rosaiah bowed before Mr. Parasaramji and said, “Please fight this case for the sake of poor Muslims.” There was so much depth in his words that it literally brought tears into my eyes and it also softened the heart of Mr. Parasaramji. He agreed to argue the case in the Supreme Court.

When the hearing took place in the Supreme Court, the Attorney General of India spoke for about 50 minutes. Then Mr. Parasaramji argued the case for about two hours. After the lunch break, counsel Ramakrishna Reddy (who later became Advocate General of Telangana under TRS Govt) argued against the Muslim reservation and then Harish Salve argued the matter.