With time running out, the Centre is likely to mention on Wednesday its application before the Supreme Court for clarification on the order staying the Government Notification to implement 27 per cent OBC quota in elite central educational institutions from academic year 2007-08.
Solicitor General G E Vahanvati had on Monday mentioned the Centre’s application before a Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice D K Jain for an early hearing but the attempt failed with the court asking him to approach the particular Bench that passed the stay order.
Since the Bench of Justice Pasayat and Justice L S Panta that on March 29 stayed the implementation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, notified in January 2007, is sitting on Wednesday, the Centre would approach it for an urgent hearing of its plea.
It could well be the last attempt to implement the controversial law from this year, as not much time was left before commencement of the academic year 2007-8.
The Indian Institutes of Management have already set April 21 deadline failing which they would go ahead with admissions without OBC quota. Indian Institutes of Technology and All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences too could not wait for long.
Interestingly, in its application filed on Monday the Centre said that according to one view in certain constituents of the UPA Government the judgement may not be construed as a an order of stay but only an advice to the government. It urged the court to clarify that the March 29 order was not to stay of the implementation of the Act that it was only in the nature of advice.
Alternatively, it requested the court to vacate the stay on the operation of the Act and permit admissions in the central educational institutions in accordance with it.
Citing Article 145(3) of the Constitution, it said since the case involved substantial questions of law, constitutional framework in regard to separation of powers, it should be heard by five judges.
The Centre has expressed its opposition to the exclusion of "creamy layer" from OBC reservation, saying this concept was not applicable to reservation in education.
On the issue of basing the quota law on 1931 census, the Centre said the attack was a misconception and that the 1931 census did not have even a remote connection with the identification of OBCs. “In fact, the identification of classes by the (Mandal) Commission was based on the realities prevailing in 1980 and not in 1931,” it added.