'Reservation on religious ground unconstitutional'

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court today declared as unconstitutional reservation on religious grounds while allotting flats built by a government agency.

A division bench of Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice B Bhattacharjee hearing a PIL held that there was no provision for reservation on religious grounds in the Constitution.

Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, a West Bengal government agency, had on March 10 floated an advertisement for sale of nearly 300 flats at Baishnabghata in the southern outskirts of the city.

The brochure said there would be 26 per cent reservation in allotment of the flats for religious minorities like Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, etc., counsel Kaushik Chanda submitted on behalf of the petitioners.

Challenging this, the petitioners submitted that the Constitution has no provision for reservation on religious grounds and that secular nature of the government would be affected if such reservations are made.

Appearing for the KMDA, counsel Soumitra Basu submitted that they would be guided by the High Court and would abide by its decision.

Hearing both the parties, the division bench passed the order declaring such allotments illegal and asked KMDA to issue fresh advertisements for selling the flats.