THE CENTRE’S move to provide 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes in educational institutions run by it from the academic year 2007 came under judicial scanner on Wednesday with the Supreme Court issuing a notice to it on a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of the new law.
A Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and S.H. Kapadia asked the Centre to respond to the petition filed by Youth For Equality, which requested the court to stay the Centre’s January 4, 2007 notification.
The Bench also issued a notice on the plea for a stay on the notification after senior counsel Ashok Desai said on behalf of the NGO that certain institutions — including the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad — have issued admission forms with a specific OBC category for candidates.
The NGO has challenged the validity of the 93rd constitutional amendment that enabled the Centre and states to enact laws to provide reservation for backward classes/SCs/STs in educational institutions, including private and unaided ones, and the matter is pending in court.
Terming the Central Education Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 unconstitutional, for violating the fundamental right to equality of other citizens, Desai submitted that the law had been enacted and notified with political motives.
“The present move is motivated by the political agenda in view of the forthcoming elections in… Uttar Pradesh, as otherwise there would be no other justification to take pre-emptive steps in haste,” the NGO said.
Desai said the new law had been enacted without ascertaining the existence of backwardness and also the inadequacy of opportunity/representation by carrying out the required survey and investigation on the condition of the socially and economically backward classes.
He said necessary statistics were not available and none of the committees appointed by the government or parliamentary committees had relevant data to support it. The petitioner also submitted that non-exclusion of the “creamy layer” from the purview of OBC reservation was contrary to the apex court judgment in the Mandal case.
The NGO contended that “notifying and implementing the Act is highly uncalled for and unwarranted because during the ongoing proceedings, it was agreed and understood that without the leave of the court, the Centre would not take any step tos implement their desire to provide reservation for the OBCs”.
SC/ST slice in medical schools
The Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe candidates will have 15 per cent and 7.5 per cent seats respectively reserved in their favour in post-graduate medical courses under the Central Quota from the academic year 2007-08.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the confusion over reservation for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates in post-graduate medical courses under the central quota by allowing the Centre’s plea in this regard.
A bench headed by Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan asked the health ministry to implement the SC/ST reservation as provided in the Constitution after none of the parties opposed the Centre’s application seeking permission to give effect to it from the coming academic session.
The Centre had given an undertaking to the court last year during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation that it would implement the 22.5 per cent reservation for SC/ST students under the central quota from the academic year 2007-08.