Despite the Supreme Court stay on reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) in central institutes of higher education, HRD Minister Arjun Singh remains confident that the quota will come into effect from the academic year 2007-08. "All state governments are of the view that the reservation should be introduced from the next academic year," Singh said on Wednesday after a conference of state education ministers.
He, however, made it clear that the government was not heading for any confrontation with the court on the issue, and that all legal options were being explored. "Without any confrontation with the court, we believe that the stay would be vacated," Singh said, adding that the government would file its review petition by Thursday.
But officials said the government did not have many options as the issues raised by the court — inadequate data and reservation for the creamy layer among OBCs — had already been dealt with in the ministry's earlier submissions the court. "We can only make a mercy petition," said an official.
The court had said that using the 1931 census for determining the number of OBCs did not reflect the current ground reality. It was also opposed to the reservation of seats in educational institutes for the 'creamy layer' among OBC candidates. Singh said he believed the issue of the 1931 census raised by the court would be resolved. As for the creamy layer, he said: "It was a decision of the cabinet and all the UPA allies (not to exclude them). How can I now say that creamy layer will not get reservation?"