Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Muzammel Hoque has ruled out any scope to abolish the 30 per cent quota for the children of freedom fighters (FFs) in government jobs, reports bdnews24.com.
He cited a High Court verdict for his argument.
"If the government wants to alter the quota system, it will have to appeal to the court for reviewing the verdict," the minister said at a press conference on the FFs' quota in jobs on Wednesday.
"Applicants from the merit list can come in, if eligible candidates are not found under the freedom fighters' quota, but the 30 per cent quota for freedom fighters must remain in the system," he said.
"There is no scope to take any decision by avoiding or ignoring the court order. It will be tantamount to contempt of court, if done," he said.
Currently, 56 per cent of government jobs are reserved under the quota system. The system allocates 30 per cent for the children of freedom fighters, 10 per cent for women, 10 per cent for economically backward districts, 5.0 per cent for minority ethnic groups and 1.0 per cent for the disabled.
A group of students and job seekers launched a protest movement several months ago to reduce the quota to 10 per cent.
On April 11, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced in parliament that the system would be abolished altogether.
She also announced formation of the review committee headed by the cabinet secretary at the time.
The government had appointed the cabinet secretary to lead the seven-member panel on July 02 in an effort to stave off further protests from quota reform protesters.
The committee has been instructed to submit its recommendation to the government with necessary and logical directives to reform or abolish the quota system by July 23.
A copy of the High Court verdict was submitted to the review committee on Wednesday and the panel would decide on the issue after careful scrutiny, said Mr Hoque.
"I would like to emphasise that the government is always respectful to the law and believes in the spirit of the liberation war. The quota for freedom fighters will not be changed."
However, the minister said the review committee could recommend changes to other areas of the quota system.