Justice Bilal Nazki Judgment

The Muslim reservation was again challenged in the Andhra Pradesh High Court in B. Archana Reddy and Others Vs State of AP.

A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Bilal Nazki, Justice Goda Raghuram, Justice V.V.S. Rao, Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice R. Subhash Reddy delivered its judgment on 7th November, 2005, while scrapping the Andhra Pradesh Reservation of seats in the Educational Institutions and of appointments/posts in the Public Services under the State to Muslim Community Ordinance, 2005 (Ordinance No. 13 of 2005, dated 20-06-2005).

The High Court primarily dealt with four issues:

(1)     Whether Muslims, as a community, can be declared socially and educationally backward for the purposes of Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution?

(2)     Whether there was relevant and scientific material before the Commission to come to a conclusion that Muslims in Andhra Pradesh were, as a Community, backward socially and educationally?

(3)     How far the Court could go into analyzing the material which was collected by the Commission?

(4)     Whether the criteria adopted by the Commission was right and if the Court could go into the relevance of the criteria?

After hearing arguments, both in favour and against Muslim reservation, the HC bench delivered its verdict scrapping the Ordinance No. 13 of 2005. In its The HC bench, in its 170 page judgment came to the following conclusions:

(a) The determination by the A.P. Commission for Backward Classes, that all Muslims residing in the State of Andhra Pradesh are Backward Class of citizens, is unsustainable, invalid and is so declared;

(b) There is no basis for the conclusion by the Commission that the existing Backward Classes have not attained levels of advancement warranting a revision of the existing reservations. This conclusion is based on no reference, no evidence, is perverse, invalid and is accordingly declared;

(c) The recommendation by the Commission that in the extraordinary situation that is now prevalent in the State of Andhra Pradesh social reservations of 51 percent exceeding the ordinarily prescribed percentage by 1 point (must be considered by the Government) is unsustainable. No extraordinary situation is established and no special case made out for deviation from the strict rule of 50% mandated by Mandal;

(d) Sections 2(c), 3, 4 and 5 of the A.P. Reservation of seats in the Educational Institutions and of appointments or posts in the Public Services under the State to Muslim Community Ordinance, 2005 (A.P. Ordinance No. 13 of 2005), are unconstitutional(being ultra vires and violative of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15(1), 15(4), 16(2) and 16(4) of the Constitution). Consequent on this declaration, other provisions of the Ordinance are inoperable. The Ordinance in its entirety is therefore declared unconstitutional and inoperable.