New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday cleared the way for implementation of 27% reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) in postgraduate courses by lifting the stay on the reservations imposed by the Calcutta high court on Wednesday.
The high court’s stay came in response to a petition filed by a student, who argued that a graduate could not be considered backward, as interpreted from the Supreme Court’s judgement on 10 April, which allowed 27% reservations for OBCs, excluding the so-called creamy layer or second-generation beneficiaries of reservation in Central educational institutions.
After solicitor general Ghoolam E. Vahanvati told the apex court that “identical petitions were being filed all over the place”, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan granted the Centre’s request to transfer all such cases to the Supreme Court and issued notices to all petitioners opposing reservation for OBCs.
The bench also ordered that admissions in centres of higher learning should proceed, subject to the outcome of the proceedings before it.
Kirti Madhok Sud, secretary of the Pan IIM Alumni, an association of graduates from all Indian Institutes of Management that moved the Delhi high court, said, “This was expected. Even if admissions will go on this year, we will continue our fight.”
Though the order is provisional, and subject to the final decision, she feels the court will not later dislodge students admitted this year in light of “human consideration”.
Opposing the Centre’s plea to lift the Calcutta high court stay, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal took the bench through the 10 April judgement and said the view of three judges was that graduation is the benchmark to check educational backwardness of the candidates.
The chief justice, however, remarked that “it is a class right” and added that the majority view in the judgement did not imply that individual members of OBCs, who have completed graduation, would not be beneficiaries of reservation. The court did not fix a date, but said that the issue would be taken up when it reopens after summer vacation on 7 July.
A spokesperson for the Union human resource development ministry said admissions will go on and legal proceedings will take their course.