An all-party meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday decided that a legal scrutiny and a study by experts would be done on the issue of the recent High Court verdict on minority scholarships before arriving at a decision. The Kerala High Court had on May 29 quashed the state government orders sub-classifying the minorities by providing merit-cum-means scholarship at 80 per cent to Muslim community and 20 per cent to Latin Catholic Christians and Converted Christians, saying it cannot be legally sustained.
The court had also directed the government to pass requisite and appropriate orders, providing merit-cum-means scholarship to members of the notified minority communities in the State equally and in accordance with the latest population census available with the State Minority Commission. After the meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a statement that a legal scrutiny will be conducted on how to go about the matter. The issue would be discussed with legal experts and an expert committee would study the matter, he said.
Practical suggestions will also be considered before arriving at a decision on the issue, he said.Vijayan said the government was interested in evolving a consensus on the matter in all respects.
"All the parties have agreed that the issue should in no way affect our social fabric," the statement said.
Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly V D Satheesan, CPI(M) state secretary in-charge A Vijayaraghavan, CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran and leaders of all parties, including the BJP, Muslim League, Kerala Congress(M), NCP, Janata Dal (Secular) and Loktantric Janata Dal attended the meeting.
The meeting was also attended by leaders of other regional political parties.
Soon after the high court verdict, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a key partner in Congress-headed UDF, had accused the LDF government of misinforming the High Court, resulting in its order nullifying the prevailing 80:20 proportion in the minority welfare schemes.
However, the Kerala Congress headed by P J Joseph,another UDF ally, welcomed the judgement and urged the government to implement it.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council (KCBC), a body of Catholic Bishops in Kerala, also welcomed the High Court order.