Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Justice Raveendran on OBC quotas

In my last post, I had flagged an issue that troubles people in states such as Tamil Nadu. There is a huge quota for OBCs. On top of this, OBCs get in through the merit pool. The total OBC representation thus exceeds the quota limit which itself is generous. Can this happen in central educational institutions now that the Supreme Court has rejected the challenges to the 93rd Amendment?

Justice Raveendran flags this issue in his judgement but refrains from expressing an opinion:

<>I would however leave open the question whether members belonging to other backward classes who get selected in the open competition field on the <>basis of their own merit should be counted against the 27% quota reserved for other backward classes under an enactment enabled by Article 15(5) of the Constitution, for consideration in an appropriate case.

My guess is that this may not be a problem in the elite institutions to start with. Once the 'creamy layer' is excluded, it will not be easy to fill up the 27% earmarked for OBCs.

But, yes, over time, it could be an issue. That is why I say that we must monitor total OBC representation: watch the percentage of OBCs in the quota category and also in the general category. Cut-offs for quotas and definitions of OBCs must be revised periodically so that total OBC representation amounts to 27%.

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