The Supreme Court on Tuesday took serious exception to political statements being made on the sub-judice matter related to withdrawal of four percent Muslim quota in Karnataka, saying “some sanctity needs to be maintained”.
A bench of Justices KM Joseph, BV Nagarathna and Ahsanuddin Amanullaj said, “When the matter is pending before the court and there is court order on Karnataka Muslim quota, then there should not be any political statements on the issue. It is not appropriate. Some sanctity needs to be maintained”.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioners challenging scrapping of the four percent Muslim quota, said, “Everyday home minister is making statements in Karnataka that they have withdrawn four percent Muslim quota. Why should such statements be made?” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Karnataka government objected to the statements being made, saying he is not aware of any such remarks and if anyone is saying that quota on the basis of religion should not be there, then what is wrong and it is a fact.
Justice Joseph said, “Solicitor General making a statement in the court is not a problem but some saying anything on a sub-judice matter outside the court is not appropriate. In 1971, a political leader was hauled up for contempt for holding a press conference against the order of the court”.
Dave said these statements are being made every day.
Mehta said the court needs to restrain Dave from making such statements in the court and using the court proceedings for that.
The bench said, “We will not allow this court to become a political forum. We are not party to it. We will adjourn the matter”.
At the outset, Mehta and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who is appearing for the Vokkaligas and Lingayats community members, said they need some accommodation from the hearing as constitution bench matter is going on same-sex marriage in which they are arguing.
He assured that the interim order passed by the court will continue.
Dave said that it should be till further orders.
The bench then directed that the interim orders passed in the last hearing would continue till further orders and listed the matter in July.
On April 26, the Karnataka government told the top court it has taken a “conscious decision” to not continue with reservation on the sole basis of religion as it is unconstitutional and it has, therefore, scrapped the provision of four per cent quota for the Muslim community.
The state government filed its reply to a batch of petitions challenging its two orders dated March 27, scrapping the four per cent quota for Muslims in 2B category of the ‘Other Backward Castes’ and granting benefits of increased quota to Vokkaligas and Lingayats in admissions and appointments to government jobs.
The top court had said Karnataka’s earlier regime granting four per cent reservation to Muslims will continue till May 9, the eve of polling for assembly elections, after the state government sought more time to file its reply.