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IIMs in catch-22 situation

If IIMs now go ahead with admissions without including the OBCs, they could be charged with flouting the HRD Ministry's directive, reports Manish Chandra Pandey.

lucknow Updated: Apr 23, 2007 22:28 IST

The Supreme Court's rejection of the Centre's plea to vacate the stay on implementation of 27 per cent OBC reservation in elite Central educational institutions has put the IIMs in a catch-22 situation.

"We now have to wait for the Human Resource Development Ministry's directive," was all that Prof Saji KB Nair, officiating chairman, admissions, of IIM-L was willing to comment after the order.

If IIMs now go ahead with admissions without including the OBCs, they could be charged with flouting the HRD Ministry's directive. But, if they wait any longer, the session across all IIMs is likely to be hit badly.

Asked how difficult his job had become now, Prof Nair simply said, "All I can say is that we are doing nothing today.”

IIM-L director Prof Devi Singh could not be reached despite repeated efforts.

"We cannot comment openly now. You can interpret whatever you wish to. We can't take any unilateral decision," an IIM professor said.

The comment obviously was in response to the HRD Ministry's recent missive to all IIMs. It directed them not to make any unilateral decision till the quota issue was resolved.

Asked about the HRD missive, a faculty member said, “Do you see the issue being resolved after Monday's order of the apex court? The session is likely to be hit badly. It's a crisis like never before.”

The IIMs had earlier decided to defer their admission process after the apex court on March 29 had stayed the 27 per cent quota for OBC students citing lack of data of the said section of the society. The HRD Ministry had filed a review petition in the court following which the case had been listed for hearing on April 23. Last Thursday, Ravi Mathur, Joint Secretary, Technical Education, at the HRD Ministry, had asked all IIMS to comply with the government direction and said that the admission lists must come only after the court decided on the issue of reserving 27 per cent seats for other backward classes (OBCs).

Mathur's missive contained a veiled threat. “Any unilateral decision by any central educational institution would be a violation of the said communication,” the missive read.