Can vacant OBC seats be given to general category, apex court asksSeptember 15th, 2008 - 6:26 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday asked the government to clarify whether vacant seats reserved for backward category students in higher educational institutions could be given to general category students.The apex court issued the notice on a plea seeking clarification of its verdict upholding a law for 27 percent quota for backward category students in government-run institutes of higher learning.
A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, had delivered the quota verdict on Apr 10.
The court also asked the government to clarify whether the cut-off marks for admission to backward category students could be relaxed beyond 10 percent of the cut-off marks for general category students.
The plea was made by Prof P.V. Indrasen of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and some other academicians in three high courts across the country, including in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata.
The apex court subsequently transferred the pleas to itself on a petition by the union government.
The bench, which also included Justice Arijit Pasayat, Justice C.K. Thakkar, Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice Dalveer Bhandari, issued notice to the government after Solicitor General Goolam E. Vahanvati told it that the government wanted to file a formal reply on the issue.
In its Apr 10 verdict, three out of the five judges of the constitution bench - Justice Pasayat, Justice Thakkar and Justice Bhandari - had favoured distributing the vacant seats reserved for backward category students to those in the general category.
In their joint verdict, Justice Pasayat and Justice Thakkar had also favoured that the cut-off marks for admission of backward category students should not be lowered beyond five percent for general students.
Justice Bhandari, however, had said the cut-off marks should not be lowered beyond 10 percent to ensure that “merit does not become an absolute casualty”.
Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for Prof Indrasen, submitted to the bench that there were no takers for the 432 backward category seats at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
He said that as the entire infrastructure for admitting 432 seats had been put in place, the court should ensure that it should not be wasted.