New Delhi : Anti-quota protestors danced in joy and many leading educational institutions breathed a sigh of relief as the Supreme Court Wednesday refused to vacate the stay on the implementation of reservation for other backward classes (OBCs).
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) campus here – which was the epicentre of the anti-reservation protests last year – witnessed jubilant celebrations. Scores of doctors at AIIMS were seen greeting each other.
“It’s a victory of truth and vindication of our fight for a just cause. It’s a joyous mood in our institution,” said Kumar Harsh, a doctor at AIIMS.
“Our faith in judiciary is just getting stronger and stronger,” said Harsh, who was among the leaders of the anti-quota movement in which tens of thousands of doctors, students and professionals across the country participated.
“We have never been against reservation in its entirety but the government should not divide us in the name of religion, caste. Reservation should only go to those who are poor and needy – he or she can be of any religion or caste,” Harsh told IANS.
Lalatendu Mahal, a student in Hyderabad, said he was very happy over the court ruling and the government should learn a lesson from this verdict.
“India needs to uplift its poor – not of a particular caste or religion. Why cannot our government think beyond caste? Do we really need to divide a country on the basis of caste and creed?” he asked.
Institutes of higher learning too breathed a sigh of relief. They will not be forced to implement the new reservation policy in the middle of their academic session.
“It’s respite for us. As the academic sessions started a couple of months back, it would have been difficult for us to take fresh students,” said a professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A).
“If you will take students in the middle of an academic session then the whole cycle will be disrupted. We have a compact schedule and we are happy that it will not be disturbed,” the professor said.
Authorities at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here also expressed their agreement with the IIM-A teacher’s view.
“The aim is not to defy any directive. The case here is about providing quality education to all. A student entering three months after the commencement of classes will certainly be a looser,” said a professor at IIT-Delhi.
Meanwhile, pro-quota activists said that the court decision was disheartening.
“The court has openly favoured upper-class chauvinism. We are shocked to find that the judiciary is not giving due rights to the socially backward people,” said Vikas Bajpai, a member of the Progressive Medicos and Scientist Forum.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said the central government had not given any new reason for the court to revoke its March 29 interim order suspending the a new law for educational quotas.
The apex court said implementing the 27 percent reservation in a few educational institutions because of the lack of infrastructure would be tantamount to discrimination.