The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it was willing to keep the "creamy layer" out of the 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes in elite educational institutions, a move aimed at getting the nod for its early implementation.
"If the court feels that the creamy layer be excluded and says so, the Centre will obey," Solicitor General G E Vahanvati said before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan.
Vahanvati's submission came during the hearing of the Centre's application seeking the vacation of the March 29 interim order staying the implementation of the quota.
The anti-quota petitioners opposed the Centre's application, contending that it was rushing through with the implementation of the law without addressing the issue of identifying OBCs and excluding the "creamy layer" among them.
At the outset, the bench questioned the contentions raised by the Centre, asking what was new in its grounds for seeking a vacation of the stay.
"What is the changed circumstance? What is new you are arguing?" asked the Bench that also comprises Justices Arijit Pasayat, C K Thakker, R V Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari.
The Centre had referred to the recent order of the court in a matter related to quota in Tamil Nadu, where the state government was allowed to provide 69 per cent reservation on the assurance that additional seats would be created to protect the general category.
It had said that this fact was discovered after the March 29 order.
"That is an unusual ground. You are not aware that the order was passed 14 years ago and it has been extended every consecutive year," the bench observed.