Ruling out the possibility of conducting census of other backward classes, the government has given 11 reasons to the Supreme Court for including creamy layer in 27 per cent OBC reservation for higher education institutions from the academic year 2007-08.
In a written submission submitted to the court, the HRD ministry has quoted various Apex court judgements to drive the point that the purpose of the 1931 Census was to find percentage of OBC in the population. "The controversy over 1931 census was settled in the Mandal Commission judgement of 1992. And, the government had decided not to hold caste based census after Independence," was a reason give by a HRD ministry official for going by the Mandal Commission recommendation.
On the more controversial issue of creamy layer, the government has stated that the Supreme Court judgement of 1992 making 27 per cent OBC reservation not applicable to the creamy layer does not apply for reservation in admissions. "OBC reservation in jobs was under Article 16 (4) of Constitution, under which, the creamy layer was struck down by the Supreme Court. But, reservation in education is applicable under section 15 (4) and hence, judgement is not applicable in the present case," he added.
More than the constitutional position, the government has relied on the ground realities on creamy layer. It says that unlike jobs, the eligibility criteria cannot be relaxed much for OBC students. "The eligibility criteria for OBC students would be somewhere in between that for scheduled caste/scheduled tribe students and general category students," the official said.
The government has also expressed the fear that if creamy layer is applied for OBC reservation there is a possibility that the seats would not be fulfilled. Many deserving candidates would be left out because of creamy layer, the official said and added that the economically weaker ones may not be able to meet the 'high' eligibility criteria.
Officials also said the providing reservation to creamy layer would improve the percentage of graduate or post-graduate OBC students in the country. Of the total students in higher education, only 7.07 per cent are from other backward classes and just two per cent from poor families among OBCs.
The government's submission also states that there are only 2,085 backward castes in the Central list much less the Mandal Commission list.