A 'second round of litigation' on Other Backward Classes reservation in central educational institutions began as the Delhi High Court on Monday sought response from the Centre to the opposition for implementation of the 27 per cent quota in higher education, including IIMs.
"It's a second round of litigation on the issue," a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur observed while issuing notice to the Centre on a petition filed by an alumni association of IIMs challenging the office memorandum issued by the government for bringing quota in post-graduate courses.
The court also sought the Centre's response within four weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on July 10 on the petition filed by Pan-IIM Alumni Association. The association contended that the government had misinterpreted the Supreme Court judgment, which while upholding the OBC reservation policy, had said that it would not be applicable to the higher educational institutions.
"The Act has to be understood in the way the Supreme Court has understood it and with the safeguard, which has been put by the Court," senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioner, said while accusing the Centre of running an agenda in the name of reservation.
"They have agenda which they are running," he said.
He contended that the five-judge constitution bench judgment says clearly that caste cannot be the basis of giving the reservation and it can only be a starting point.
"If a particular caste has got substantial number of graduates that is 50 per cent then that particular caste has to go," Salve said, adding that a student has to pass twin tests of educational and social backwardness to get the benefit of reservation.
"If you are a graduate then you belong to creamy layer and reservation cannot be given to you," he contended.
The Centre, however, objected to the contention and said that after the Supreme Court judgment there was no confusion over providing reservation to OBC candidates in Central Educational Institutions.
"The common order passed by the five judges does not say that the reservation cannot be given in higher education," Solicitor General Goolam E Vahanvati said, adding that an individual test of educational backwardness cannot be applied to a class.
The alumni association opposed the contention and said the order signed by the five judges was not the ratio of the case. The Centre, earlier, had defended its decision to provide reservation to OBC candidates in IIMs and other Central educational institutions.
"The matter stands concluded and contentions raised by anti-quota activists that the benefit of reservation cannot be provided to a candidate after completing graduation, is wrong," the Centre had contended.
"The operational part of the judgment does not mention about the exclusion of reservation for the graduate," it had said.