The government on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking a reversal of its stay on implementing the 27% reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) in elite educational institutions, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management and All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
In response, M.L. Lahoty, counsel for the anti-quota groups that consist of students from some of these colleges, said that he will file a “strong reply” to the government’s 53-page petition.
Lahoty is a senior lawyer for Youth for Equality, a forum for students from AIIMS and IITs.
On 29 March, Youth for Equality won a Supreme Court ruling ordering a stay on the 27% OBC quotas; its decision essentially threw into doubt the government’s plans to extend more reservations on the basis of caste.
The government’s application raises three main issues. It opposed exclusion of the “creamy layer” from the benefit of reservation. The application also maintains that the 1992 decision of the nine-judge Constitution Bench in the Indra Sawhney caseupholding reservation for OBCs “is binding on all concerned, including the petitioners, the government as well as a two-member Bench of this honourable court.”
Sawhney unsuccessfully challenged the government on caste-based quotas in jobs, and the court ruled in favour of reservations, as long as they didn’t, together, exceed 50%.
Referring to the 29 March order of the two-judge Bench, the government’s petition says the judgment may not even be construed as an order of stay but as advice to the government.
“...it would be in the interests of justice if the court were to clarify and confirm that the order dated 29 March is not an order directing stay of the implementation of the Act and is in the nature of advice to the Central government as to the course of action that may appropriately be undertaken,” the application said.
But, says Lahoty, “advice from Supreme Court is only given to the President of India,” adding that the order could only be interpreted as a stay.
After the Supreme Court stay order, the ministry of human resource development had asked the six IIMs to hold back admissions lists, which were to be announced last week.
The premier business schools, which already reserve 22.5% of seats for scheduled castes and tribes, have agreed not to announce their results till the end of this weekbut said, if there’s still no court decision, they will do so on 21 April.
PTI contributed to this story.