Apex court upholds 27 pc quota to OBCs
New Delhi (PTI): In a major boost to reservation, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Constitution amendment law providing for 27 per cent quota for OBCs in IITs, IIMs and other Central educational institutions but excluded the creamy layer from the benefit.
A five-judge Constitution bench by a unanimous verdict cleared the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 providing for the quota.
The bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan excluded the creamy layer among the OBCs from the quota benefit.
The court held that the Act does not violate the basic structure of the Constitution.
The verdict came on a bunch of petitions by anti-quota activists challenging the Act. They vehemently opposed government's move saying caste cannot be the starting point for identifying backward classes.
The inclusion of creamy layer in the reservation policy was also questioned by the anti-quota petitioners.
With this judgement, the interim order of March 29, 2007 staying the implementation of the Act has been lifted.
In effect, the reservation policy can be put in place for the 2008-09 academic session.
The Court held that the Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act, under which the Government came out with the law providing 27 per cent quota in Centrally-aided institutions, was not violative of the basic structure of the Constitution.
All the judges favoured periodic revision on the implementation of the 27 per cent quota.
The Court ruled that the delegation of power to the Centre to determine OBCs was valid.
The parameter applied for identifying the creamy layer among the OBCs for jobs as per the office memorandum of September 8, 1993, will be applicable, the court said.
It also held as valid the exclusion of minority institutions from the ambit of quota under the Act.
Besides the Chief Justice, the Bench comprised Justices Arijit Pasayat, C K Thakker, R V Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari.
Chronology of events
Following is the chronology of events in the case involving constitutional validity of the controversial law providing 27 per cent OBC quota in Central Educational Institutions including premier IITs and IIMs:
* Jan 20, 2006: The Constitution (93rd amendment) Act, 2005 comes into effect empowering the state to make special provisions for socially and educationally backward classes and SC/STs in admission to educational institutions.
* May 16, 2006: The Standing Committee on social justice and empowerment submits its 15th report stating that there was no census in the case of backward classes. It mentions that a report of Registrar General of India that no information has been collected on OBCs in 2001 census.
* May 22, 2006: Ashok Kumar Thakur files a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, when anti-quota agitation at AIIMS was at its peak.
* May 27, 2006: Prime Minister constitutes an Oversight Committee to look into the implementation of 27 per cent reservation for the OBCs in higher educational institutes.
The Committee, in its report, cautions the government that the implementation of the Act would compromise academic excellence and lead to "demographic disaster."
* May 29, 2006: The Supreme Court issues notice to the Centre on the petition.
* May 31, 2006: The Supreme Court permits all concerned citizens to be impleaded as parties in the on-going petition and allows them to file a fresh petition.
* Dec 1, 2006: A Parliamentary Standing Committee on human resource and development submits its 186th report in both houses of Parliament saying no caste-based census has been carried out after 1931.
* January 1, 2007: Another petition challenging the implementation of the Act is filed in the Supreme Court.
* Mar 29, 2007: The Supreme Court gives interim order staying the implementation of the Act.
* Aug 7, 2007: The five-judge Constitution Bench commences hearing to decide the validity of the Act.
* Nov 11, 2007: After 25 days of hearing, judgement in the matter was reserved.
* April 10, 2008: The Supreme Court upholds the validity of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 providing 27 per cent quota to OBCs in the educational institutions.
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