Reservation cannot continue indefinitely and must come to an end one day, the Supreme Court observed on Tuesday.
The observation came from a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan during the hearing on petitions challenging the validity of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions), Act, 2006 providing for 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in elite central institutions, including IIMs and IITs.
“Reservation will have to stop some day… after some years or decades. If it is perpetual, the entire objective is defeated,” the bench said. The court was reacting to senior counsel Harish Salve’s argument that there had to be proper monitoring and periodic review of the reservation policy to see if it has achieved the desired objective.
The bench emphasised the need to keep the creamy layer out of the quota umbrella. “By keeping the creamy layer out, more deserving people get the benefits of reservation; otherwise unequals are treated as equals.”
Salve said Article 15 of the Constitution talked about class and not caste. He, however, added that caste can be used for identification of backward classes in the beginning but it cannot be a permanent tool to do so.
The government is yet to respond to the court’s observations and the petitioners’ submissions.