Apex court refuses to revive Uttar Pradesh quota law

April 8th, 2009 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday refused to revive an Uttar Pradesh law which sought to reserve 50 percent of seats in the state’s all public and private educational institutions for students from Dalit, tribal and backward communities.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice B.N. Agrawal refused to take up the state government’s lawsuit against the Allahabad High Court order, which had temporarily suspended the law in November 2007.

The bench, which also included Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice H.L. Dattu, asked the state to approach the Lucknow bench of the high court, where the matter is pending since 2007.

The state government, in its lawsuit, told the apex court that it had enacted the law in 2006 to reserve 50 percent of seats in the state’s all educational institutions, including the private ones receiving no funds from the government, for students from Dalit, tribal and backward communities.

The state government said it had enacted the law - The Uttar Pradesh Admission to Educational Institutions (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) Act, 2006 - on the basis of the 93rd Amendment to the constitution by the central government in 2005.

The constitutional amendment empowered various state governments as well the central government to enact laws to reserve up to 50 percent of seats in all educational institutions, including the private ones, for students from the marginalised communities, the state government said.

On the basis of this constitutional amendment, the central government enacted the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, providing for up to 50 percent reservations in higher educational institutions funded by it.

But the Uttar Pradesh government, going a step further, enacted the law, which implemented reservation in private, unaided educational institutions as well.

The Uttar Pradesh law was challenged before the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court by all the private unaided colleges of the state conducting the Bachelor in Education (BEd) course.

The high court temporarily suspended the reservation law in the academic session 2007-08, pending the resolution of the dispute on its legality.

The Uttar Pradesh government appealed to the Supreme Court at that time too, but the apex court did not annul the high court’s order. It merely asked the high court in January 2008 to decide the matter at the earliest, preferably within two months.

As the law continued to be suspended at the beginning of even the subsequent session of 2008-09 - belatedly starting in October 2008 in Uttar Pradesh - the state government again sought suspension of the high court’s order, first from the high court and then from the apex court.

But the apex court Wednesday refused to oblige the state government.

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