New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to take up on Friday the Centre’s plea for vacating the stay granted by the Calcutta high court on implementation of 27% quota for other backward classes (OBCs) in the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta, which, some experts say, could apply to other IIMs and other schools offering postgraduate programmes.
The apex court’s decision could shed some clarity on its own 10 April judgement on reservations and allow IIMs to go ahead with their admissions.
Solicitor general Ghoolam E. Vahanvati’s request in this regard was allowed by a bench led by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan.
The court shuts for vacation starting Saturday and will reopen only on 7 July. This means, if no order is passed on Friday, the Centre may request that the issue be taken up at the earliest by a vacation bench of the court, said a Supreme Court advocate, who did not wish to be identified.
P.S. Krishnan, an adviser to the ministry of human resource development on the OBC quota case, said the Centre will press for a vacation of the Calcutta high court stay.
“The stay has been obtained by misrepresentation and it is a misuse of the judicial process. The two judges, who said graduation should be a general yardstick to measure backwardness, are being misquoted,” he said.
The Calcutta high court’s stay was in response to a case by a student claiming that a graduate could not be considered backward, as mentioned in the 10 April judgement.
If that is indeed the case, it would mean the government’s effort to have 27% reservation for OBCs will not be applicable for postgraduate programmes.
Referring to the 10 April judgement of the court, Nityanand Agasti, member of students body Youth For Equality, a petitioner in the case before the apex court, said, “Three out of five judges have said a graduate is no longer educationally backward. I don’t think the Supreme Court will deviate from this stand that it has already taken.”
Besides clarifying the court’s stance on quota in postgraduate courses, which has been interpreted differently by various people since the 10 April judgement was passed, an interim order is likely to impact related cases such as the petition filed by an IIM alumni association challenging reservation for OBCs in postgraduate courses before the Delhi high court, and a similar petition filed before the Bangalore high court.
Last week, the Delhi high court issued a notice to the Centre, asking it to respond to a petition filed by the IIM alumni association challenging reservation for OBCs in postgraduate courses.