Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court concluded hearing on a set of PILs concerning a central scheme providing pre-matriculation scholarships to students belonging to religious minorities and said it would pronounce the judgement on February 15.
The five-judge bench headed by Justice V M Sahai heard the PIL filed by Congress leader Adam Chaki seeking direction from the court to the Gujarat government to implement the scheme which the state had refused saying that it was discriminatory in nature.
Another PIL heard by the court was that of Dalit Adhikar Manch which demanded that either these benefits be extended to the students belonging to Scheduled Caste and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) or the scheme be scrapped altogether.
The central scheme was launched in 2008 for students belonging to five religious minorities including Muslims whose parents have annual income below Rs 1 lakh.
Under the scheme, the Centre gives 75 per cent of the scholarship amount while states are required to bear the rest 25 per cent.
The Gujarat government has not implemented the scheme arguing that the Constitution prevented states from discriminating its citizens on the basis of religion.
Advocate General Kamal Trivedi said the state government has been implementing scholarship scheme for every students studying up to class X, irrespective of their religion.
The Centre, however, argued that the Constitution has provided for affirmative actions by the state for uplift of the socially backward communities of the society.
Additional Solicitor General Paras Kuhad argued that the scheme was not conceived on the basis of religion but on the base of classification of backwardness among minority communities noted by Justice Rajinder Sachar committee report.>