Minority ratio binding on all for grant of educational scholarship, says J.B. Koshy

The panel he heads was formed to look into the educational, social and economic backwardness of Kerala Christians

The Kerala High Court order on population-based distribution of minority educational scholarship will be binding on all unless it is revised by the Supreme Court, says J.B. Koshy, chairman of a panel on Kerala Christians.

Mr. Koshy made his position known in the wake of the suggestion from some quarters that the panel, which was formed to look into the educational, social and economic backwardness of Christians, may have to be wound up following the court order scrapping the 80:20 ratio followed for the distribution of scholarships among Muslims and Latin Catholic and Converted Christians. The court also suggested that the aid should be distributed among all the six minority communities based on their population.

Incidentally, the minority community scholarship was instituted in 2008 after considering the report of Paloli Muhammad Kutty committee, which was “engaged to study the problems of the Muslim community on the basis of the recommendations in the Sachar Committee report.” The Paloli committee had K.E. Ismail, T.K. Hamsa, K.T. Jaleel, Muhammed Kunju, Hussain Randathani, O. Abdu Rahiman, Fazal Gafoor, T.K. Wilson, Kadakkal Abdul Azeez Maulavi, and A.A. Azeez, as its members. The Sachar committee was constituted to study the socio-economic and educational backwardness of Muslims in India.

According to Mr. Koshy, also a former Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, one of the many issues referred to the panel was the discrimination meted out to Christians while granting minority benefits. There are specific issues faced by the Christians residing in the coastal belt and the hill districts of the State. There was also the complaint of allotting all the professional training centres opened by the government to one minority community, he says.

The commission, which has former DGP Jacob Punnoose and former secretary to the President Christy Fernandez as its members, will study representations it receives and the views of the government and various court decisions in this regard. The panel is now tabulating representations received and will come out with the report after looking into all its terms of references, he says.

More than the individual complaints of denial of job opportunities and other benefits, the panel is looking for data-based reports and suggestions on the backwardness faced by the Christians. A prominent segment of the Christian community has offered to come up with a report after conducting a detailed survey among its members. The Christian groups and organisations can take a cue from the decision, he says.

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