India Education
Apex court admits one more petition against quota law
May 2, 2007 - 8:59:12 PM

New Delhi, May 2 - The Supreme Court Monday admitted one more petition challenging the constitutional validity of the central law seeking to provide 27 percent reservation for Other Backward Classes - students in centrally-funded higher education institutions.

Admitting the petition filed by a group of Jawaharlal Nehru University professors under the banner of Citizens for Equality, a bench headed by Justice B.N. Agrawal posted it for hearing May 8 along with a bunch of similar petitions.

A Supreme Court bench, acting on a bunch of petitions challenging the reservation law had stayed the operation of the act on March 29. Subsequently hearing in the matter has been slated for May 8.

The new petition objecting to the central law for quota in educational institutions for students belonging to the OBCs was filed by Prof R.K. Bhatnagar, Prof. Sudha Bhattacharya, Dr. Varsha Sharma, Prof Arun Attri, all of JNU.

In their petition, the JNU professors argued that the present reservation policy 'suffers from serious constitutional and legal infirmities and needs to be replaced by a rational policy of affirmative action for uplifting the weaker section of the people.'

They said 'in the present policy there is no attempt to remove the educational disparities among the backward classes including schedules castes and tribes. It allows only the more advanced and educated sections among them to avail the benefit of reservations leaving the hindmost uncared for.'

'There are no provisions for free and compulsory education of the backward classes at least till the ten plus two stage, which is necessary in order to be eligible to seek the benefit of reservation of jobs or seats in educational institutions,' they added.

The petitioner said 'the reservation policy being adopted by the central government and various states is arbitrary since it is based on political considerations without collecting and considering relevant data.'

'Continuation of the reservation policy even after 56 years of the commencement of the constitution and further enlarging the policy of reservation to new areas and institutions, is arbitrary inasmuch as it overlooks the need for affirmative action to uplift the weaker sections that ought to receive the first priority,' the petitioners added.

The petitioners pleaded for a direction for replacement of the non-uniform reservation policies of the union government and various states by a comprehensive and rational package of affirmative action plan with fixed deadlines to achieve its various goals.

The plan suggested by the petitioners said that it would first take care of the lower-most segment in each backward class and thereafter extend the facility to the upper layers.

The petitioners sought a direction to quash the suspended law as well as the 93rd Constitutional Amendment under which the quota law was enacted.

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