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HC strikes down Sikh quota in colleges

Chandigarh, Dec. 18: Punjab and Haryana High Court has struck down reservation of 50 per cent seats in SGPC-run institutions for Sikhs, a decision the religious organisation and the Punjab government will appeal.

The court ruled yesterday that the quota could not be allowed because Sikhs were not a minority in Punjab.

“There will be no reservation for Sikh students in SGPC colleges from the next session,” said Binderjit Singh, counsel for the petitioner.

Sahil Mittal, who was denied admission to a medical and a dental college despite having the qualifying marks, had challenged the quota.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee manages most gurdwaras. It also runs medical and engineering colleges.

The Punjab government, which had issued three notifications to allow the reservation, will appeal in the Supreme Court. “The ruling has national implications,” said Harcharan Bains, media adviser to the chief minister.

In 2002, the Supreme Court had ruled that a group’s population in a state would decide if it was a minority for the purpose of quotas, and not the Constitution. Sikhs form 60 per cent of Punjab’s population.

However, the SGPC had limited the definition of Sikh to those who are baptised. The government argued that by this definition, Sikhs are a minority. SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said: “We will approach the Supreme Court.”

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