After days of uncertainty, the government on Friday issued a directive to all Central educational institutions to commence admissions for General and SC/ST categories asserting 'every constitutional and legal' measure will be taken to ensure the OBC reservation.
The directive to 64 Central government funded institutions, including IIMs and IITs, came after UPA allies and Left parties gave a go ahead to the government to allow admissions to general, SC and ST categories for the coming academic session without the OBC quota for the time being.
'. . . the offer of admissions to the ensuing academic session in Central educational institutions shall, until further communication, be limited to the approved intake that existed during the academic session 2006-07,' the directive said.
It also made it clear that 'no offers of admissions shall be made until further communication in respect of seats that are proposed to be expanded during the ensuing academic session.'
HRD Minister Arjun Singh told reporters on Friday that notwithstanding the order, the commitment of the government to the principle of reservation to OBCs is irrevocable. "We shall explore every constitutional and legal procedure by which to ensure it," he said.
Asked about CPI(M)'s suggestions for a 'fallback option' in case the Supreme Court does not vacated the stay on 27 per cent OBC quotas, Singh said: "All kinds of options were voiced. Obviously, that is not the manner in which we can function. When the situation comes we can see."
To a question whether the government was hopeful of a positive outcome, he said the court will have to take a decision and "we are waiting for that. The government has made no decision on that."
Pressed further on the options before the government, Singh said "there is always an option for everything but we should not start thinking about options even before the time has arrived."
HRD ministry has directed Central educational institutions to commence admissions as it was impacting government's case before the Supreme Court, Singh said when asked about the delay in allowing admissions.
Under the Centre's formula, 124,377 general and SC and ST candidates would be offered admission while 12,216 seats under the expansion programme to accommodate the quota would be filled after the apex court's decision.
The number of admissions is being limited to the "approved intake" that existed during the academic year 2006-07 so that the benefit of expansion of seats, after the vacation of stay, could go entirely to the OBCs and to meet the proportionate increase of seats for SCs and STs.
Central educational institutions under the HRD ministry had an approved intake capacity of 1,24,377 students for the academic year 2006/07. For giving effect to the OBC quota, they planned an increase in the intake by 12,216 seats during the 2007-08 academic session.
This included 157 seats in IIMs, 1,788 seats in IITs and the balance in other Central educational institutions.
As per the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act, out of the additional 12,216 seats, 9,468 seats would go to OBCs while 1,832 and 916 would be reserved for SCs and STs, respectively.