The Congress on Thursday hailed as a 'landmark judgment' the Supreme Court's clearance to 27 per cent quota for the Other Backward Classes in institutions of higher education.
Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh said efforts would be made to implement it from the coming academic session.
"This is very historic judgment. Hundreds of students belonging to OBC category will be benefited by it," an elated Singh, who championed the cause of OBC reservation, told media persons shortly after the apex court delivered its much-awaited verdict.
He said the Supreme Court judgment vindicated the United Progressive Alliance government's commitment towards social justice and added the Centre would ensure implementation of the Constitution amendment law providing for 27 per cent quota from the coming academic session.
"I am sure all people who want equity in access to higher education will support this judgment," Singh said pointing out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made it clear that no one would be excluded from the process.
The reservation for OBCs would not affect any other category of students as it would be ensured that the opportunity was given to everyone, he said, adding 'there is no clash of interest'.
"There was a whole cacophony of protests. There were all kinds of motivated allegations made and that has now been silenced," said All India congress Committee spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi.
Singhvi said the UPA government's decision to give reservation to OBCs was based on the idea that there should be co-ownership of the elements of democracy by the backward classes and a crucial element in this was co-ownership of educational facilities.
"I think that basic point has to be understood and appreciated," he said.
On the court excluding the creamy layer in the OBCs from the quota benefit, Singhvi said it has taken a middle path that does not take away the basic thrust of the judgment, which is upholding the policy.
On the judgment's significance for the party in the coming elections, Singhvi said, "I don't think the court decides these matters according to whether it helps us or not.
But certainly, all laudable initiatives of the UPA, which are taken for the public benefit, will reach the public."