Graduates eligible for OBC quota: Arjun Singh

May 17th, 2008 - 8:50 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh Saturday said graduate students were also eligible for the other backward classes (OBC) reservation, adding to the confusion over quota qualification. Singh, speaking at a function organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry here, said: “There was no restriction for postgraduate students even in the judgement by the Supreme Court last month.”

A five-member apex court bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan had April 10 given a green signal to the government to go ahead with the quota policy.

But it noted that no person, class or religion can be higher than the nation and that therefore the best and meritorious students must be selected for admission to technical institutes and medical colleges.

Justice Dalveer Bhandari observed in a separate judgement: “Once a candidate graduates from a university, the candidate is educationally forward and ineligible for special benefits under Article 15(5) of the constitution for postgraduate and any further studies thereafter.”

The judges excluded the ‘creamy layer’ among the OBCs from the purview of the quota policy and asked the government to draw parameters to identify the ‘creamy layer’ or the elite among the community.

According to a senior HRD ministry official, the government was yet to identify the ‘creamy layer’.

There was confusion over graduation being regarded as a measure of “educationally forward”, admitted a senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Meanwhile, Singh hailed the Supreme Court’s decision Friday vacating a Calcutta High Court stay order on the implementation of the 27 percent quota for OBCs in postgraduate courses at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIM-C).

Following the order, the government could file caveats in state high courts to ensure smooth implementation of the OBC quota, officials said.

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