The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that there cannot be perpetual reservation and it must come to an end one day.
The Observation came from a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India KG 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 Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Technology.
“It (reservation) will have to stop some day…after some years or decades …It must come to an end one day…If it is perpetual the entire object is defeated."
“It is an enabling provision… it has to be time bound…Conceptually it has to be terminated at some point in time,” the bench, said and sought to know if reservation could be withdrawn once it had achieved its purpose after a period of time.
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 after a definite period to see if it has achieved the desired object. Appearing for the anti-quota petitioners, Salve said it cannot be a permanent affair and those involved in this kind of social engineering must review it.
The bench emphasized the need to keep the creamy layer out of the purview of reservation.
“By keeping the creamy layer out more deserving people get it (reservation benefit), otherwise unequals are treated as equals.”
Salve said Article 15 of the Constitution talked about class and not caste. He, however, said that caste can be used for identification of backward classes in the beginning but it cannot be used as a permanent tool for identification of backward classes.
The Government is yet to respond to the court’s observations and petitioners’ submissions.
Few facts about reservation
There is 15 per cent reservation for SCs in Central Government jobs and educational institutions since January 26, 1950
There is 7.5 per cent reservation for STs in Central Government jobs and educational institutions since 1950.
There is 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in Central Government jobs since 1993 after implementation of Mandal Commission report.
There is provision for 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in central educational institutions under the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions), Act, 2006 but the SC has stayed its implementation.
Besides, there is reservation in states and union territories for SCs, STs and OBCs but the percentage varies.
Out of the total 543 Lok Sabha seats 79 are reserved for SCs and 41 for STs.
There is reservations for SCs and STs in assemblies as well.