The UPA government has moved a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against a recent order of the Andhra Pradesh high court, which "set aside" a decision to carve out a 4.5% sub-quota for minorities under the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) quota.
Moved by the ministry of human resources and development (MHRD), the appeal seeks an urgent stay on the operation of the HC verdict because the fate of over 300 students — who managed to gain admission to the IITs under the minority sub-quota — is currently hanging fire. Earlier, law minister Salman Khurshid had said the government would approach an appropriate bench of the top court only when it re-opens on July 2.
An SC vacation bench, headed by Justice KS Radhakrishnan, will hear the appeal on June 11. Attorney general GE Vahanvati and additional solicitor general Gourab Banerji will argue the case for the MHRD.
The appeal claimed that the HC had failed to appreciate that the carving out of 4.5% from the larger reservation of 27% OBC quota wasn't on the ground of religion, but was intended to ensure that certain "more backward sections" of the backward classes avail of benefits that they are currently unable to access.
The ministry also countered the HC’s observation that there was no empirical data justifying the creation of a sub-quota.