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Pan-IIM Alumni Association moves SC

The Pan-IIM Alumni Association on Monday moved the Supreme Court against the ‘arm-twisting’ of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), reports Satya Prakash.

delhi Updated: Apr 24, 2007 00:29 IST

The Pan-IIM Alumni Association on Monday moved the Supreme Court against the ‘arm-twisting’ of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) by the Centre to put in abeyance the admission process for the coming academic session in view of the uncertainly over the OBC quota issue.

In its petition filed through counsel Sushil Kumar Jain, the Association has sought quashing of two communications issued by the Union Human Resources Development Ministry dated April 5 and 19, 2007 withholding the IIMs’ admission process.

It challenged the caste-based reservation system as “unconstitutional”, saying it was adversely affecting the unity and integrrity of the nation and was against public interest. The Association urged the court to strike down the controversial Central Educational Institutions (Rservation in Admission) Act, 2006, notified in January 2007, that provided for 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in elite institutes including IIMs and IITs from the academic year 2007-08.

It said submitted that caste-based reservation was against their right to equality, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, casste, sex or place of birth and equality of opportunity in public employment guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution respectively.

Questioning the criteria for determination of ‘institutes of excellence’ which are excluded from the operation of the Act, the Association sought to know “whether the IIMs which are world renowned institutions imparting Post Graduate Technical Education ought to be covered within the said definition.”

The petition of the Association, which also demanded setting up of a non-political expert body to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of the current system of reservation in vogue in the country in 1950, was mentioned before a Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat for an urgent hearing.

But the court said it would come in due course.

Following the March 29 apex court order to stay the operation of the government notification on 27 per cent OBC quota in central educational institutions, the HRD Ministry had on April 5 to withhold the admission process till further directions.

Again, a day after the court clarified that its March 29 order was not just an “advice”, the Ministry wrote to the IIMs reminding them that they were bound by the reservation policy of the Government as reflected in the impugned Act. It had asked the IIMs not to take any unilateral decision to start the admission process for the academic year 2007-08 till further directions.

Following the April 19, communication from the Government, a meeting of all the six IIMs was held on April 21 and the admission process has been indefinitely postponed, the petitioner said.

“…the said action of the Government is seriously prejudicing not only the future of the students who wait for admissions in the concerned institutions but will also affect the quality of the students taking admissions in various IIMs…”, the Association submitted.

It pointed out that from the common entrance examination conducted by the IIMs not just the IIMs take students but nearly 40 other institutions also take students.

“If the admission process is delayed, the more meritorious students would tend to take admissions in other institutions and thus deeprive the IIMs of the good quality students,” it submitted.

Questioning the rationale behind implementing caste-based reservation in the absence of corresponding scientific data to justify it, the Association wanted the court to enforce the concept of economic backwardness to identify the beneficiaries of reservation policy.

First Published: Apr 24, 2007 00:22 IST