In a major blow to the Union Government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to lift the stay on the implementation of the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in elite educational institutions such as IITs, AIIMS, IIMs from this academic session and said it would hear the contentious issues in the main application from Wednesday.
The constitutional bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices Arijit Pasayat, A K Mathur, R V Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari said it would hear the main petition on the constitutional validity of the 93rd amendment, the provision of Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006 providing 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Communities (OBCs), and Union Government’s power on implementing such policy without any basis from Wednesday.
The court would also decide on 30 questions submitted before a two-judge bench earlier such as whether reservation should be only for the people from creamy layer or caste be the only criteria for reservation or its applicability in private educational institutes.
The Union Government had filed an application seeking lifting of the stay for the implementation of the quota from this academic session pending final outcome of the main petition.
Solicitor General E Vahanvati argued for lifting of ban and said the court could strike down the implementation of the quota if it was finally decided.
No concrete plan
Senior Counsel Harish Salve opposing the lifting of the stay submitted that the government had not come with any concrete plan in support of the interim implementation of the quota in the institutions. “There is no change in the situation. In the intervening period neither the government improved the infrastructure in the institutes nor the states provided with any data relating to the number of OBCs in their respective states.”
“Public money would be spent to increase the seats without any basis. The government is going to destroy all our educational institutes by introducing the quota immediately if the stay is vacated,” Mr Salve said. “Unless a student passes the higher secondary level he can’t enter these elite educational institutes. The government should strive for improving the free school education system for the betterment of the people instead of seeking quota for the OBCs,” argued Senior Counsel P P Rao.
After almost four hours of the proceedings, the bench asked the advocates to justify the hearing on the application as the adjudication on the issues in the main matter was getting delayed.
Senior Counsel Anil Dhawan said the application should not be heard as it seemed to be a review petition of the order pronounced by the two-judge bench.
“For creating extra infrastructure in all the elite institutes, the government would have to spend Rs 73,000 crore. Every institute would require more teachers and research staff to cope with the extra students,” said Senior Counsel Mukul Rohtagi.