On a day when the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) announced they are going ahead with reserving seats for other backward castes, or OBCs, for their postgraduate courses, lawyers representing India’s top business school alumni and doctors of a premier institute said any government move to implement the additional reservations in postgraduate courses would be challenged.
“If they try to implement it in post-graduation, it will definitely get challenged”, said Aparajita Singh, who assisted senior lawyer Harish Salve in representing the alumni of Pan-Indian Institutes of Management Alumni Association, who fought the quota in the recent Supreme Court case to extend quotas to OBCs. “Any of the petitioners can challenge it.”
Singh is not be alone in her view. The ruling means “no reservation in post-graduation,” said senior lawyer M.L. Lahoty.
Lahoty had argued against new reservations for Youth for Equality, a forum of doctors working in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
He said he met with his clients over the weekend to deliberate over the ruling. “All of us are waiting for government (action)”.
The Indian Institutes of Technology on Wednesday said they will add “quota” seats for candidates of OBCs to their postgraduate courses. “We are moving with the assumption that 27% increase is across the board,” said Surendra Prasad, director of IIT, Delhi, said at the sidelines of a press conference.
The prospect of another legal battle could mean further delays for candidates waiting for the release of the admission lists in these sought-after schools.
The Indian Institutes of Management, or IIMs, last week deferred the release of their admission lists after the apex court ruled that the government can reserve seats in colleges for OBCs, except for those who are already well-off, the so-called creamy layer. Three judges in the five-judge bench also defined a person who has graduated as educationally forward.
This led to the wide belief that IIMs and the Faculty of Management Studies of the University of Delhi, which are run by the government and offer postgraduate courses, will be left out of the new quota.
But the day after the verdict, an adviser to the government said the graduate schools would have to make room for more OBCs. “There is no room for doubt,” said P.S. Krishnan, an adviser to the ministry of human resource development on the OBC case. “Some people are creating a needless misunderstanding”.
In January, more than 230,000 people took the common admission test, or CAT, for admission to the IIMs. About 1.5% of these moved to the next level for interviews.
Last week, the students would have known which school accepted them. As soon as the Supreme Court ruling was handed down on Thursday last week, the IIMs released statements saying admission decisions would be delayed.
Meanwhile, the directors of seven IITs said in the joint press conference that undergraduate seats will go up by 13% in all the institutes this year to accommodate a 9% seat increase for OBC quota. IITs will also add 120 seats each in three new institutes.