The UPA government’s move to provide a 4.5% sub-quota for minorities in higher educational institutions by an executive order ahead of the model code of conduct kicking in has raised concerns about the legal validity of the move.
Lok Janshakti Party general secretary Abdul Khaliq on Saturday questioned the legal basis for the minorities sub-quota in educational institutions since a 27% quota for the Other Backward Classes was introduced by an Act of Parliament, and not an executive order.
Khaliq said he welcomed the affirmative action but wanted an assurance from the government that this order would withstand judicial scrutiny. “Or is the country going to witness another charade in which the quota remains frozen as an unimplemented good intention, as the decision gets embroiled in litigation,” he said.
Senior government officials, however, insisted that the minorities did not have a reason to worry. Officials said the (Central Educational Institutions, reservation in Admission Act, 2007) had only spelt out the 27% OBC quota. "But this quota was implemented by executive instructions… which have been amended," a law ministry official said.
Another official familiar with the introduction of quotas in educational institutions pointed to the resolution notified by the human resource development ministry in 2008.
After the SC upheld the OBC quota in higher educational institutions, this resolution was issued to clarify implementation of the quotas. “It is this resolution that has been amended,” he said.