Aday after the Supreme Court said its decision banning reserved seats for other backward classes (OBCs) was final for this year, the government convinced the apex court to advance the date for hearing its appeal.
A hearing for the government to present its case for reservations was moved to 8 May from late August.
But the change once again cast doubts on the fate of admissions at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The ministry of human resources development, which oversees education, was in a meeting on Tuesday night and IIM officials said they had no idea what they were to do. Admissions decisions were to have been announced on 12 April, but the government kept asking the institutes to hold back while it fought the court’s first order, a stay made on 29 March, barring 27% seat reservations for OBCs.
“We have not heard from the government,” said S.P. Parashar, director of IIM-Indore. Leaving the meeting, all higher education secretary R.P. Agrawal would say was that he had no comment.
On Monday, the court had refused to lift the stay order on the OBC quota. The two-judge bench said it wanted more evidence from the government of the need for such reservations.
Making a special mention before Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, attorney general Milon K. Banerji said on Tuesday that the issue involved public interest and importance as irreparable loss would be faced by an overwhelming number of students.
The Centre’s application for an early hearing was vehemently opposed by anti-quota petitioners. “This is only getting a date. It does not mean that this will influence the judgment,” said Kumar Harsh, a member of Youth for Equality, a forum of mostly resident doctors and students of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, which opposes quotas.