The Supreme Court today ordered status quo on the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s quashing of an ordinance providing 5 per cent reservation for Muslims in government jobs. Refusing a stay, the court referred the issue to a constitution bench.
‘‘We are not inclined to stay the operation of the judgement and make it operational as it has invalidated the law,’’ a bench comprising Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice C K Thakker and Justice R V Raveenderan said in an interim order.
However, the bench gave relief to those who have already availed of the quotas benefits by directing the authorities to maintain status quo on the issue.
‘‘We are of the view that status quo should continue to the extent that such persons who have been granted admission in the educational institution would continue with the course and not be disturbed and that likewise if appointments to public service have been made, the same should not be disturbed,’’ the bench said.
Admitting a bunch of appeals, including from the Andhra Pradesh government, against the High Court judgement, the apex court referred the matter to the constitution bench.
Senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for the state government sought a stay on the judgement which was opposed by senior advocate Harish Salve, who argued for the students on whose petition the high court had quashed the ordinance.
Declining to stay the verdict, the bench said that if the operation of the judgement was stayed, it would mean that a law held to be unconstitutional would continue to operate until the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Andhra Pradesh government had contended that the high court did not consider Article 16 (4) of the Constitution while invalidating the act but Salve drew the attention of the court to Clause 3 of the ordinance which refers to the social and educational backwardness of Muslims residing in the state.