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SC issues notice to Centre

The SC issues notice to the Centre on a petition challenging 27% reservation for OBCs, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2007 05:34 IST

The Centre's move to provide 27 per cent reservation to Other Backward Classes in the educational institutions run by it from the academic year 2007 came under judicial scanner on Wednesday with the Supreme Court issuing notice to it on a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of the new law.

A Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and SH Kapadia asked the Centre to respond to the petition filed by Youth For Equality, which requested the court to stay the Centre’s January four 2007 notification in this regard.

The Bench also issued notice on the plea for stay of the notification after senior counsel Ashok Desai pointed out on behalf of the NGO that certain institutions, including Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad have already issued Admission Forms with OBC as a specific category of candidates.

The NGO has already challenged the validity of the 93rd Constitutional Amendment that enabled the Centre and States to enact laws to provide reservations to backward classes/SCs/STs in educational institutions including private and unaided ones and the matter is pending before the court.

Terming the Central Education Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 as unconstitutional for violating the fundamental right to equality of other citizens, Desai submitted that the law has been enacted and notified with political motives.

“The present move is motivated by the political agenda in view of the forthcoming elections in…Uttar Pradesh as otherwise there would be no other justification for taking such pre-emptive step in haste…,” the NGO said in its petition.

Desai pointed out that the new law has been enacted without ascertaining the existence of backwardness and also the inadequacy of opportunity/ representation by carrying out the required survey and investigation about the condition of socially and economically backward classes.

He said the necessary statistics was not available and none of the committees appointed by the Government or the Parliamentary Committees had relevant data to support it.

The petitioner also submitted that non-exclusion of the “creamy layer” from the purview of OBC reservation was contrary to the apex court judgment in the Mandal case.

The NGO contended that “notifying and implementing the Act is highly uncalled for and unwarranted because during the ongoing proceedings it was agreed and understood that without the leave of the court, the Centre would not take any step towards implementing their desire to provide reservation for the OBC.

“Even otherwise when the highest court of this country is seized of the matter, it is inappropriate for a party to the litigation (Centre) to take such extreme step which may lead to irreversible consequences and would cause large scale chaos, particularly amongst student communities,” it said.

The NGO that came into existence during last year’s anti-quota stir, said the Centre’s decision to notify the Act was an attempt to overreach the court, which was already seized of the whole issue and had asked for statistics in support of the decision.

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First Published: Feb 19, 2007 05:34 IST