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Vacant Quota Seats are Counter-productive

NEW DELHI: Supreme Court on Monday saw through the Centre's attempts to build a backlog of unfilled 27% OBC quota .....




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10-07-2008
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Vacant Quota Seats are Counter-productive


NEW DELHI: Supreme Court on Monday saw through the Centre's attempts to build a backlog of unfilled 27% OBC quota seats in central educational ins
titutions and said not releasing vacant seats to the general category would be counter-productive.

The court, in fact, has reflected the view taken by TOI on the issue. On August 2, 2008, this paper had said that allowing vacant quota seats to be carried over to the next year would be a criminal waste of an extremely precious resource.

Seconding the argument put forth by the HRD ministry, solicitor general G E Vahanvati said in court that those institutions which implemented the 27% OBC quota at one go this year, were definitely mandated, as per the five-judge constitution bench, to give unfilled seats to the general category.

The doubt in the mind of the implementing authorities arose in relation to those institutions which were implementing the 27% quota in a staggered manner, say over a three-year period, he said while moving a caveat.

But the bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat, C K Thakker, R V Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari, which had allowed the quota with creamy layer exclusion criteria on April 10 this year, said the judgment was crystal clear about allowing vacant quota seats to be filled by the general category.

"You cannot keep the OBC quota seats vacant as per our judgment. You want to keep the vacancy accumulate for three years? We have already clarified in our judgment and said categorically that the unfilled seats must go to general category. Keeping seats vacant will be counter-productive," the bench said while hearing an application filed by academician P V Indiresan seeking proper implementation of the constitution bench judgment.

Vahanvati immediately gauged the mood of the bench and submitted that the government was not averse to a clarification to this effect from the court before going on to explain the vacancy position relating to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Delhi University (DU).

He said of the 654 seats for OBCs in the 13 IITs, only 20 seats remained vacant. But the IITs have refused to lower their cut off marks — 172 — for any category to allow filling up of these seats.

As for JNU, the SG said out of 2,173 seats, 256 were earmarked for OBCs for the academic sessions 2008-09. A total of 83 seats remained vacant and of these 54 have already been filled by general category leaving only 29 unfilled seats. Creditably, 174 OBC candidates got through general merit, he said. The bench asked the Centre to get the factual position relating to the OBC quota seats and the vacancy by October 14. - Times Group
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