Supreme Court upholds 27 percent quotas for OBC students

April 10th, 2008 - 3:04 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead)

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday upheld the law according 27 percent quota for backward class students in government-run institutes of higher learning but clarified that the ‘creamy layer’, or the elite, would be kept out. While upholding the constitutional validity of the law, a five-judge constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan ruled that students belonging to the creamy layer among the other backward classes (OBCs) would not be eligible for the quota.

The bench, including Justices Arijit Pasayat, C.K. Thakkar, R.V. Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari, also sought a time-bound review every five years of the effect of the law on the society.

In its unanimous judgement running into 500 pages, the bench upheld the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 that provides for 27 percent quota to OBC students in higher educational institutions like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

The bench also upheld the validity of the Constitutional (93rd Amendment) Act, 2005 that enables central and state governments to enact laws to provide for reservation in higher educational institutions.

The court, however, left open the question of whether the 93rd constitutional amendment act also enables governments to make a law providing for reservation to OBC students in private unaided educational institutions.

In a separate judgement, Justice Bhandari held that the part of the constitutional amendment act that enables the government to make a law for reservation in private educational institutions is illegal and violates the basic structure of the constitution.

The other judges on the bench, however, left the question open saying that this part would be open to challenge at subsequent time.

The bench specified that the creamy layer would mean what the apex court had defined in its 1993 ruling upholding the constitutional validity of the Mandal Commission report. It said the “creamy layer” among OBC students would also be decided as per the criteria fixed by the government in its official order on Sep 8, 1993.

The creamy layers among backward classes include sons and wards of serving as well as former presidents, vice president, prime ministers, ministers, chief ministers, judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, bureaucrats and commissioned military officers.

With the court endorsing the legality of the law, the IIMs and IITs would be able to implement quota regime from the academic session 2008-09 itself.

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