Ending a week-long uncertainty, the government on Sunday directed all the centrally-funded elite educational institutions, including Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Technology, to implement the Other Backward Classes reservation from this year.
The Human Resource Development Ministry issued the directive to the Central Educational Institutions, after the Supreme Court on April 10 upheld the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, excluding the creamy layer from its ambit.
All CEIs, other than those exempted in the act, have to implement the 27 per quota for OBCs apart from 15 per cent for Scheduled Castes and 7.5 per cent for Scehduled Tribes from this academic session, the Ministry said in its office memorandum issued today evening.
After the apex court verdict, the IIMs have put on hold their admission process, seeking a communication from the Ministry in this regard. The IITs have already decided to implement the OBC quota in three years time, beginning in 2008-09, by reserving nine per cent every year.
"The policy of reservation for the OBCs under the Central Educational Institutions Act is to be implemented from the forthcoming academic session itself and this is applicable to all the CEIs, exceptions being only those institutions of excellence, research institutions of national and strategic importance specified in the Schedule to the CEI Act," the ministry made it clear.
A detailed programme of phasing of the expansion has already been worked out by CEIs and approved by the Empowered Committee for implementing recommendations of the Oversight Committee, it said, adding that in view of the stay orders of the Supreme Court, the academic session commencing from the calendar year 2008-09 would, for all practical purposes, be the first year of implementation.
The policy of reservation for the OBCs, SCs and STs under the CEI Act is applicable to all programmes and courses of studies at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels.
However, highly specialised courses including post-doctoral programmes may be exempted by the government from the quota ambit in consultation with the appropriate statutory authority like UGC, BCI, MCI, AICTE, the ministry said.
"This is to reiterate that there shall be no exemption from the policy of reservation except where the Central Government so specifies a course or programme covered under clause(d) of Section 4 of the Act," the ministry said, adding that the reservation for the OBCs and SCs/STs under the CEI Act shall not apply to minority educational institutions.
The Central Government is taking steps to ensure that CEIs are not put to difficulties in phasing of admissions under Section 6 of the Act.
"Each Central Educational Institution shall ensure that from among candidates belonging to the OBCs applying for admission against the seats reserved for the OBC category, information is collected from the candidates for exercising due diligence, so that no candidate belonging to the creamy layer is given the benefit of reservation for the OBCs," the ministry said.
The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs has last week given the go ahead to the government in implementing the OBC reservation excluding creamy layer.
Each CEI is also authorised to fix separate cut off marks for admission for the OBC candidates as each institution may deem appropriate for maintaining the standards of education and at the same time ensuring that sufficient number of eligible OBC candidates are available.