Apex court suspends Allahabad High Court’s anti-quota order


New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday suspended an Allahabad High Court order that restrained the Uttar Pradesh government from implementing 50 percent reservations in private engineering colleges.

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A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan suspended the high court order on an appeal of the state government that the high court had forbidden it from securing reserved seats for backward and Dalit students in private engineering colleges though the colleges had no objection to it.

Appearing for the state government, senior counsel P.P. Rao argued that the Aug 7 order of the Lucknow bench of the high court had abruptly halted the admission process in the state’s engineering colleges with over 70 percent of the pre-admission counseling already complete.

Rao pointed out that the high court stayed the government order on a public interest lawsuit without hearing either the colleges or the students aggrieved by the state government’s reservation policy in the private engineering colleges affiliated to the Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU).

In fact, neither the colleges nor the students even approached the high court, said Rao.

“How can the high court pass such an order?” asked the bench, as it suspended the order and issued notices to V.K. Singh Parmar, the petitioner on whose lawsuit the high court had suspended the state’s July 22 order providing for 50 percent reservation to backward and Dalit students in state’s engineering colleges.

Rao told the apex court that the state government’s policy was backed by an agreement with the state’s private engineering colleges.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the petitioner, sought to argue that the state government had reached the agreement with the colleges by stipulating that it would provide affiliation only to those colleges that reserved seats.

The court, however, said it would listen to the petitioner later.