Debating India

RESERVATIONS

Where do you get a Muslim certificate?

Saturday 2 July 2005, by CHUNDURI*Mridula

HYDERABAD: Muslim reservations are set to hit a bump. To avail the 5 per cent quota for admission to educational institutions, Muslims will have to submit a religion certificate from the revenue authorities. But how does one prove one is a Muslim? Who issues the certificate? With admissions to colleges coming up after the weekend, these questions have no clear answers.

The authorities have thrown up their hands. "A GO has been issued on 5 per cent reservation for Muslims. It is now the prerogative of the higher education department to decide how it will implement it," said Backward Classes welfare commissioner Ar Sukumar.

Counselling for admissions to medical colleges will be held around July 18, engineering counselling is scheduled for July 27 and B.Ed. counselling will start from July 5. Despite these dates coming closer, there is no clarity on how the reservation rule will be implemented. Until now no religion proof certificates have been issued in the state.

There is also no clarity on whether the admissions that have already been made for undergraduate courses will have to be redone since the reservation GO is less than a week old...

When applying for admission to a course, a student is required to indicate his religion. But until now, there was no need to show any proof because there was no reservation on the basis of religion, as there was on the basis of caste.

This will change with the introduction of the 5 per cent reservation for Muslims.

While NTR University of Health Sciences registrar Dr P Jayakar Babu told The Times of India that a religion proof certificate should be obtained from the mandal revenue officer (MRO). But MROs said they do not issue any certificate for religion. They said there was no provision with them to issue such documents. They issue only caste and residence certificates.

So, at the time of implementing the reservation for Muslims, though it is only the MRO who can certify a person’s religion, he does not know how to go about it.

However, Hyderabad collector Arvind Kumar is not perturbed. He said if the reservation rule is implemented, it will be possible to issue a religion certificate, despite the fact that a standard procedure is not in place. In case of a caste certificate, the MRO looks at proof such as the parents’ caste certificates and school and college records before issuing a certificate...

But for religion there are no set papers that are to be submitted to get a certificate.

The collector, however, hoped a way would be found out. With the nitty gritty of the Muslim quota still to be worked out and the admission season already upon us officials have much homework to do.

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