In a potential setback to the government, the Supreme Court observed that the government should first identify beneficiaries before implementing reservations for other backward classes (OBCs) in educational institutions.
The court’s response came during a hearing of the case by a bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan.
Appearing on behalf of the anti-quota petitioners, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal had argued that there has been no identification by the Centre of socially and educationally backward classes so far.
Venugopal told the court that the post-Mandal 1993 list only identifies backward classes and not specifically its subset of socially and educationally backward classes, the intended beneficiaries of the 27% quota as per the definition of OBCs in the Central Educational Institution (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006.
In his response, solicitor general Ghulam E. Vahanvati said that this is only “technically correct” since the Mandal Commission was constituted under Article 340 of the Constitution that deals with the setting up of state commissions to look into conditions of socially and educationally backward classes.
Justice A. Pasayat observed that before a reservation system is put into action, there must be a determination of the classes for whom the benefits are intended.
Vahanvati responded that a list “is ready” but has not been published as an official notification since the matter is under the scrutiny of the court.
Justice R.V. Raveendran noted that the duplication of names in the various state lists is another problem and cited the example of the Yadav community, which appears in more than one list across various states.
The bench will resume its hearings on Tuesday.