Parties welcome quota clearance, miffed over creamy layer exclusion

April 10th, 2008 - 2:36 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) Political parties Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court verdict upholding 27 percent quota for other backward classes (OBCs) but some were upset with the ruling that excludes the creamy layer, or the elite, from the benefit. While the Congress welcomed the ruling in its entirety, its allies like the Left parties and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) were opposed to the exclusion of the creamy layer.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was also happy with the “landmark” judgment that clears the way for reserving 27 percent of seats for OBCs in institutes of higher learning like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT).

Once implemented, the new policy would take overall reservation in government-funded higher education institutions from the current 22.5 (for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) to 49.5 percent.

“It is a historic judgment. Thousands of OBC students will benefit. The government has already decided that it will not affect any other category of students,” said Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Arjun Singh, adding that percentage of seats would be increased.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said: “The apex court has taken a middle path. The narrow exception (for the creamy layer) is well known and is understandable.

“It is a landmark judgment to strengthen the unity of the country by providing equality in education and thereby strengthening the democracy,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told IANS.

The Congress, however, is expected to have a hard time convincing its allies like the DMK, Rashtriya Janata Dal, LJP and the Left that have been consistently opposed to keeping the creamy layer out of the reservation policy.

“It is a positive verdict. But while enabling the rules, the government should have a re-look at the criteria to define creamy layer,” Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja told IANS.

Raja also expressed disappointment over the court’s silence over quotas for OBCs in the private institutions.

LJP chief and Chemicals and Fertiliser Minister Ram Vilas Paswan also expressed his reservations: “Our party wants that the creamy layer should also get the benefits till the job quota for OBCs are implemented completely.”

The apex court has clarified that children of MPs and legislators should not avail the benefit of reservation policies. It said the reservation for OBCs should not be in “perpetuity” and there should be a review of the OBC list every five years.

The widely criticised legislation was passed unanimously by parliament in December 2006.

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