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Govt to seek early hearing on quota

Despite the setback in the Supreme Court yesterday, the Centre hopes for a just and compassionate decision.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2007 15:27 IST

Despite the setback in the Supreme Court, the Centre on Tuesday said it would approach the Chief Justice of India to seek an early hearing on the OBC quota issue and hoped for a "just and compassionate" decision.

"I do hope that a just and compassionate face of justice will emerge in the CJ's court," HRD Minister Arjun Singh told reporters without elaborating on the government's fresh plans to get the stay vacated.

The apex court had Monday declined to vacate the stay granted by it on March 29 causing a major setback to Centre's effort on providing 27 per cent OBC reservation in elite educational institutions from this academic year.

Observing that the government would explore legal options to try and bring "some relief" to the backward classes, Singh said that the Attorney General would approach the bench of the Chief Justice with a request for an early hearing on the issue.

Asked whether his ministry would give any fresh directive to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) so that they could go ahead with the admissions, he said "I do not think any fresh directive is needed".

The Ministry had earlier told the IIM Directors to put on hold their lists on admision till they hear from the government.
These business schools have been asked to put on hold the admission for time being, he said adding "in two to three days, I am hope, it will be clarified".

He said that all IIMs were cooperating as basically these were government institutions and not "private institutions". Government has decided on their autonomy so that their academic functioning was good. "It is not that they have become independent," he said.

Asked whether the government was planning to bring a bill to clip the wings of IIMs, he replied in the negative.

On Monday's apex court decision, Singh said it was a serious matter and its implications must be realised as Parliament had in its wisdom enacted a Constitutional amendment act with unanimity.

Referring to opposition to reservation, he said that when the OBC issue was brought about, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made it clear that quota would be without any prejudice to other general category students and also insisted on the increase in the intake so that the ratio of general category was not reduced.

"We were at a loss to understand in this background whose right are being violated," he said adding that the government would await for a decision from the apex court.

When asked about the apex court questioning the government on the need to rush through the implementation when it had waited for 57 long years, Singh shot back saying "am I getting something (out of this). It was a Parliament decision to give OBC quota".

Asked whether the government would convene an all party meeting in order to find a solution to the issue, he said on the OBC issue that there were several such meetings among political parties and there was unanimity on the issue.