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The Supreme Court Thursday decided to hear March 22 an Andhra Pradesh government’s lawsuit challenging the state high court’s ruling striking down a law reserving four percent of seats for Muslim students in professional colleges.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice B.S. Chauhan gave the date after Attorney General Goolam E. Vahanvati, appearing for the state government, sought an urgent hearing.

Vahanvati said that he needed an early date for an elaborate hearing to convince the court about the urgency involved in the case.

Appearing for petitioner, T. Murlidhar Rao, who had challenged the quota for Muslims, former minister of state for law Ravi Shankar Prasad insisted that the high court had already given its final verdict.

“The high court has categorically ruled that there is no provision for religion-based reservation in our constitution,” said Prasad, adding the matter hac been adequately settled by the court.

A seven-judge bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court had in February struck down the law by a majority judgement, holding it illegal and unconstitutional.

Andhra Pradesh had July 6, 2007 promulgated the ordinance for four percent reservation in the state’s professional colleges to several sub sects within the Muslim community, treating them as backward classes.

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