In a major boost to reservation, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Constitution amendment law providing for 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes in IITs, IIMs and other Central educational institutions, but excluded the creamy layer from the benefit.
A five-judge Constitution bench cleared the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 providing for the quota, by a unanimous verdict.
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 judgment, 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 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.