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Deve Gowda welcomes Supreme Court verdict on quotas

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
April 10, 2008 20:21 IST
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Former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular chief H D Deve Gowda on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court's verdict okaying 27 per cent reservation in institutions of higher education.

"I whole-heartedly welcome the Supreme Court decision upholding the Constitution amendment law providing for 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes in IITs, IIMs and other Central educational institutions," former prime minister Deve Gowda said.

He claimed that as recently as March 2007, he had urged the Union Government to take a pro-active stand on the issue and get the stay vacated at the earliest to enable OBCs to gain their due place under the sun. Gowda, like any other political leader, would seek to exploit the judgement during the Karnataka assembly polls in May.

BJP spokesman and lawyer Ravi Shankar Prasad said that since the collective judgements run into over 630 pages, the party would give a structured response later. But he did raise the question over whether the Parliament would legislate over who constitutes the creamy layer or if it would be left to the individual state assembly.

He said that the order of relating to keeping the creamy layer out was handed down by an individual judge and not of the entire bench, and under the given circumstance, it would not be proper to say that the whole bench favoured keeping the creamy layer out.

Though MPs and MLAs have welcomed the move, the issue is likely to figure in the two houses of Parliament on April 15.

Aditya Kaul, of United Students, is divided on their response to the judgement. While one group feels that the Supreme Court has done an excellent job and has asked the government to carry out a fresh survey, as the one conducted in 1931 would not be accurate.

Dr Harsh Pathak, an advocate who guided the students, told that the issue of who constitutes the creamy layer was unclear as the court has left it to the individual state to legislate on the subject.

Senior high court lawyer, Pinky Anand, said that the full impact of the judgement would be known once all the details of the order of the apex court are released. The court has asserted that reservations are to be decided by the ruling governments at the Centre as well as in the states.
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Onkar Singh in New Delhi