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'Admissions not possible even if SC lifts stay'

delhi Updated: Aug 08, 2007 03:21 IST
Satya Prakash

The Centre concedes before SC that 27% quota for OBCs in central educational institutions cannot be implemented from this academic year, reports Satya Prakash.

The Centre on Tuesday conceded before the Supreme Court that 27 per cent quota for OBCs in central educational institutions cannot be implemented from this academic year even if the court vacated the stay on the implementation of the controversial law.

Solicitor General G E Vahanvati admitted before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan that this was not possible because the necessary permission from the Medical Council of India has not been obtained for increase in seats as envisaged under the OBC quota law. The Centre also conceded if the stay was vacated, this year the OBC quota would be implemented only in those institutions where approval for increase in seats has already been obtained.

During hearing on the Centre’s plea for vacating the March 29 order staying the implementation of the quota, Vahanvati also indicated that the Government could accede to exclusion of the creamy layer among the OBCs from the purview of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act, 2006 to get the stay vacated. "If the court feels that the creamy layer be excluded and says so, the Centre will obey…Let us get on if this is the way to move forward," Vahanvati told the court.

As the petitioners pointed out that the Government had not given any figures about the increase in seats, the court asked the Centre to furnish details of such institutions by Wednesday, when it would commence hearing on the petitions challenging the validity of the Act.

It also asked the Centre to give details about the commencement of the academic session in various institutions.

At the outset of the proceedings, the court rapped the Centre for reportedly having given oral instructions to the institutions covered under the law to upgrade their infrastructure to accommodate the extra 54 per cent intake to ensure that the general category seats were not disturbed.

The bench sought to know how the Centre could do that even when the court had not heard the issue. It also asked the Government to explain what was the new ground or change in circumstance since the dismissal of a similar plea in May last.

On behalf of the anti-quota petitioners, senior counsel Harish Salve, K K Venugopal, P P Rao, Rajiv Dhavan, Mukul Rohtagi and M L Lahoty submitted that the Centre was in a hurry to implement the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs without even identifying the beneficiaries of the law and and excluding the "creamy layer" among them, which was a constitutional requirement. The Government has not done its job properly, they said.

They said there was no need to disturb the peace as the people from both sides had accepted the stay and the main atter should be heard and decided finally.

Venugopal said, "If the stay is vacated, a small section will take away the benefit in its entirety.”