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Last Updated: May 17, 2007 - 8:46:52 AM
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Supreme Court stays quotas in higher educational institutes
Mar 29, 2007 - 2:22:40 PM
Said the court: 'The state is empowered to execute affirmative actions to help backward classes, but it should not have undue adverse impact on those who are left out.'

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[RxPG] New Delhi, March 29 - The Supreme Court Thursday stayed until August the 27 percent reservation of seats in higher central educational institutions for backward class students.

In an interim order on a bunch of petitions by Youth for Equality and other student bodies, a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and L.S. Panta stayed the 27 percent quota for socially and educationally backward classes - students for the coming academic session.

Rejecting the central government's move to accord reservation on an archaic 1931 caste-based census data, the bench said: 'What may be valid data in 1931 cannot be a determinative factor now to accord reservation on its basis.'

While directing listing of the petition for a final hearing in August, the court said the government could in the meantime collect authentic data on caste population in the country.

The bench observed: 'Nowhere else in the world castes queue up to be branded as backwards. Nowhere is there a competition to become backward... Reservation cannot be permanent and appear to perpetrate backwardness.'

Noting that 'the constitutional concept of equality is not a mere legal equality', the bench said laws for reservation often 'put the constitutional provision of equality under strain'.

Said the court: 'The state is empowered to execute affirmative actions to help backward classes, but it should not have undue adverse impact on those who are left out.'

Rejecting the central government's contention that the total number of seats would be increased to make up for the loss of opportunities to general category students, the bench said if the seats in central educational institutions were increased without reservation, the same would have gone to general category students.

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