Students group to challenge apex court verdict on OBC quota


New Delhi : Youth for Equality (YFE), a students’ organisation that spearheaded the anti-reservation agitation last year against the 27 percent quota for other backward classes (OBC), Thursday said it would challenge the Supreme Court verdict upholding the quota.

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The YFE now plans to take up its agitation with a fresh perspective. It says that since the benefit of reservation is meant for “socially, educationally and economically backward classes of the society”, a graduate, according to the apex court’s decision, cannot avail the benefits of the OBC reservation.

“Any graduate from the OBC category cannot avail the benefit of the OBC reservation for higher courses. This is one point which we would take up before the court,” said Kaushal Kant Mishra, a founder member of the group and a doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

The YFE said it would approach the court to ensure that post-graduate and other higher educational courses are free from OBC reservation.

It maintained that the apex court decision would severely affect future generations. However, it welcomed the court’s decision to exclude the creamy layer or affluent sections of the community from the OBC reservation.

“It has only diluted the merit and succumbed to political pressure. Such a decision would only encourage caste-based politics. We are not against any caste, but against the lopsided policies of the government,” said Mishra.

The Supreme Court Thursday paved way for implementation of 27 percent quota for OBCs in centrally-run educational institutions of higher learning and upheld the constitutional validity of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill, 2006.

In the 2007-08 budget, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram allocated Rs.26.98 billion for central educational institutions under the HRD ministry providing for 54 percent increase in the number of seats.

According to officials, in the budget for 2008-09 an allocation of about Rs.25.22 billion has been made for central universities – IITs, IIMs, NITs etc, for the purpose.

Following protests from various quarters, an Oversight Committee recommended a 54 percent expansion (over three years) in central educational institutions so that the number of general seats is not reduced.

But the Supreme Court stayed the quota implementation last year and asked for valid data to support the move. Since then, the matter was pending in the Supreme Court, which Thursday upheld the law.