The Kerala High Court on Wednesday remarked that in a secular country like India, persons who make the conscious choice to declare themselves as non-religious must be commended [Nirupama Padmakumar & Ors. v State of Kerala & Ors.]..Justice VG Arun made the observation while considering a petition moved by several students who, having passed Class XII, had declared themselves as falling in the non-religious category for college admission."This is a conscious decision by a group of persons that they will not join any community, they don't want to be stamped as belonging to any particular community, as they are non religious. I think they should be rewarded for taking such a stance. Our Constituion says we are a secular country and they have chosen to be secular, non-religious," Justice Arun orally remarked..The non-religious student-petitioners moved the Court as they were seeking admission to colleges under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS), not falling under the Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe/ Other Backward Class categories.It was stated in the petition that as per the 103rd amendment of the Constitution of India, the State government has been given the power to give reservation to EWS in communities other than those falling in the SC/ST/OBC categories.The plea pointed out that students who had declared themselves as non-religious but as falling under the Foward Community category were issued community certificates accordingly. The State government later issued a list on the recommendation of the Forward Commimity Commission whereby only persons who declared their caste and community were included.However, it was claimed that those who declared themselves as non-religious were not included in EWS for the purpose of education and employment by the State government."Thus the petitioners who belong to EWS falling under the non-religious category, have now been denied 10% reservation meant for other EWS communities other than SC/ST/OBC category", the plea said. The petitioners contended that by not including non-religious category under the list issued by it, the State government violated Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution by denying the benefits of EWS reservation to them.Therefore, they approached the Court seeking orders to the State government to include the non-religious persons, who also belong to EWS, in the list so that they can awail the reservation meant for EWS in categories other than SC/ST/OBC..The petitioners were represented by advocates Madhu Radhakrishnan, MD Joseph, Nelson Joseph and Deepak Ashok Kumar..The Court will pronounce its verdict in the matter on Friday, August 12.