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Govt mulling move to get quota stay vacated

The HRD minister, however, makes it clear that the Govt doesn't want any face-off with SC, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2007 23:00 IST

Faced with criticism from the opposition for "mishandling" the reservation case, the Centre is contemplating to move the Supreme Court with a request to vacate its order to put on hold 27 per cent quota for OBCs in elite central institutions and refer the matter to a Constitution Bench.

Amidst mounting pressure from pro-reservation parties and groups, Human Resources Minister Arjun Singh on Sunday discussed with at least two Additional Solicitor Generals the legal options available to wriggle out of the quota imbroglio, sources said.

The application for vacating the stay and referring the matter to a Constitution Bench would be filed soon, they said.

The Minister had said on Saturday that the government would take all constitutional measures to get the stay order vacated. "The Supreme Court has not rejected anything...We will take all constitutional measures to vacate the stay," Singh had said.

He, however, had made it clear that the Government did not want any confrontation with the court on the issue.

The Government also came under pressure from DMK and other southern allies as AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa accused it of not taking the matter seriously. The two senior most law officers of the Government were not involved in the case, she had said.

In a blow to the Government's reservation policy, the apex court had on March 29 stayed the Central Education Institutions (Reservation in Education) Act, 2006 providing for reservation for OBCs in central institutions including IITs, IIMs and AIIMS from the next academic year.

The court had said that the 1931 census figures of undivided India could not be relied upon to determine backwardness of the castes sought to be given the benefit of the law.

"What may have been relevant in the 1931 census may have some relevance but cannot be the determinative factor," a Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat had said.

The court had taken note of the fact that the impugned law did not exclude the creamy layer from the purview of quota. It had also rejected the Centre's much-publicised argument that the number of seats had been increased so as to ensure that the general category seats would remain the same.

"If there is possibility of increase in seats in the absence of reservation it could have gone to the general category…By increasing the number of seats for the purpose of reservation unequals are being treated as equals," it had said.

First Published: Apr 01, 2007 17:53 IST