Courts not against quota: Khare
Former Chief Justice VN Khare on Monday said that neither was he opposed to reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) nor was the government wrong in defining "weaker sections".india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 02:46 IST
Former Chief Justice VN Khare on Monday said that neither was he opposed to reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) nor was the government wrong in defining "weaker sections".
Though the courts had not specified what constituted "weaker sections", they had left it to the government to decide the criteria to determine such sections, said Justice Khare, one of the original proponents of quotas as a means of social engineering.
The former CJI maintained that the judiciary had always spoken up for the weak and the downtrodden. Right from TMA Pai to the Islamic Academy (both benches presided over by him), the SC had upheld quotas for the "weaker sections".
However, a seven-judge bench presided over by then Chief Justice RC Lahoti overturned this consistent stand of the courts. Incidentally, no judge who figured in the earlier two benches was part of this seven-judge bench.
The seven-judge bench held that there could be no quotas for weaker sections in "unaided" private professional institutions. It, instead, upheld quotas for NRIs.
It was in response to this judgement that the government introduced clause 5 to Article 15 of the Constitution, facilitating quotas in all aided and unaided private institutions except minority institutions under Article 30.
Veteran socialist Surendra Mohan said it is for this reason that the Kaka Kalelkar Commission of the 1950s was specifically mandated to explore "special opportunities" for "Other Socially and Educationally Backwards".
But Pandit Nehru did not accept the panel's 1957 report. But he permitted the states to deal with it as they liked. Then came the Mandal Commission in 1978 and its submission on December 31, 1980.
VP Singh brought the Mandal recommendations into force through an executive order in August, 1990. It's perhaps their far-reaching effects that made political parties vote for the Constitutional amendment following the judgment of the Bench headed by Justice Lahoti.