The Supreme Court will decide on Wednesday the fate of the government's decision of providing 27.5 per cent reservation to OBCs seeking admission to educational institutions from the academic session 2007-2008.
A Bench, comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia, will decide whether to stay the notification granting reservation to OBCs in educational institutions till the final disposal of a batch of petitions challenging the government notification.
If the court grants interim stay against the impugned notification and decides to provide interim relief to the petitioners, including Resident Doctors Welfare Association, who are opposing the caste-based reservation policy, then the interim order may lead to another round of confrontation between the judiciary and the government, which has passed the Reservation Act in Parliament.
Wednesday's hearing assumes significance in view of the forthcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, as the petitioners have been opposing the reservation policy on the grounds that it was nothing but 'vote bank' policy of the political parties.
The Union government in its additional affidavit has oppposed even the exclusion of the creamy layer from the benefits of reservation and justified its caste-based reservation policy, saying such a policy is a must to uplift the economically, educationally and socially backward sections of society who had been denied equal opportunities due to caste-based discrimination.
The apex court has, however, directed the government to place before it the data related to total percentage of different castes which form the foundation of the reservation policy adopted by the government.
The court had also directed the government to explain whether caste-based reservations will not divide the nation along caste lines.