Calcutta High Court on Wednesday stayed the union HRD ministry’s memorandum on 27 per cent OBC quota in postgraduate courses in centrally run institutions.
The interim order means that IIMs, IITs and all central institutions offering postgraduate courses will not be able to go ahead with the quota in these courses.
The Centre is likely to move the Supreme Court against the order as soon as it gets a copy of the order. HRD Minister Arjun Singh said in New Delhi that legal experts were being consulted.
Justice Maharaj Sinha passed the order on a petition contending that the HRD ministry’s April 20 office memo violated the recent Supreme Court ruling on the OBC quota law.
Justice Sinha also stayed the IIM prospectus for CAT 2008, and issued notices to the IIMs and the HRD ministry asking them to respond to the petition by June 9, the next date of hearing.
After this interim order, “IIM-Calcutta will not be able to hold interviews scheduled on Thursday,” counsel for the petitioner, Sayan Guha of NIT, Durgapur, said.
Arjun Singh, however, maintained that the high court order would not have any impact on the implementation of the 27 per cent OBC quota in postgraduate courses in central institutions.
“We have already said that postgraduate courses are also covered under the 27 per cent OBC quota ambit,” he told reporters after a meeting with heads of all central institutions in Delhi.
Singh’s ministry has asked for the Calcutta High Court order so that it can both file its reply, and get the stay vacated. The law ministry is of the clear opinion that the Supreme Court has not kept postgraduate courses out of the ambit of the OBC quota while upholding the central government’s OBC quota law.
On April 10, a constitution bench upheld the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 but ruled that the creamy layer among OBCs had to be kept out. It also favoured fixing cut-off marks for OBC candidates.
Guha, who got 89 percentile in CAT and was seeking for admission to IIM-Calcutta, pleaded that according to the Supreme Court ruling, graduate OBCs would fall in the creamy layer category and would not be eligible to avail of the quota benefit.
“Since the IIMs only offer postgraduate courses and no one can do a postgraduate course unless he becomes a graduate, so naturally an OBC candidate would fall under the creamy layer of OBC and would not be eligible for availing of the quota,” his advocates Jayanta Banerjee and Nilava Banerjee said.