By Sandeep Datta
New Delhi, Apr.10 : Resident doctors and representatives of the Student Federation of India (SFI) on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to enhance the reservation quota of members of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in institutions of higher learning excluding the creamy layer.
They told ANI that the judgement was a landmark one that would benefit the underprivileged sections in the long-term.
"In today's judgement, the important things which turned out are that, first, before implementing, they will have to come out with the list of beneficiaries. If they don't apply the educational and economical criteria, it is open to challenge. Second, it is a big set back for the government that the creamy layer is out. Third is that there will be review of this reservation policy every five years, said Dr. Harsh, the President of the Resident Doctor Association of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
"The good point is that the economic and educational criteria has been taken into consideration," he added.e, however, warned that the battle (for justice) was still far from over. For, if the government didn't apply this judgement, the Youth for Equality will be there for it.
The pro-reservation faction also claimed victory and shouted slogans inside and outside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) campus.
"We welcome today's judgement approving 27 percent reservation for the Other Backward Class students. Our contention over the need for quota for the needy has been accepted. It is wrong to say that reservation or quota promotes casteism," said Rohit, the Delhi State Secretary of the Student Federation of India.
The Bench, including the Chief Justice K.G.Balakrishnan upheld the 2006 Act and upheld Article 15 (5) as far as it relates to State and aided educational institutes. It was directed that creamy layer should be excluded from Socially Educationally Backward Class (SEBC).
The bench also included Justices Arijit Pasayat, C. K. Thakker, R. V. Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari.
Today's verdict came on a bunch of petitions by anti-quota activists challenging the Act. They vehemently opposed the government's move, saying caste cannot be the starting point for identifying backward classes.
The inclusion of individuals belonging to the creamy layer in the reservation policy, was one of the major points questioned by the anti-quota petitioners.
With this judgment, the interim order of March 29, 2007 staying the implementation of the Act has been lifted. The reservation policy can be put in place for the 2008-09 academic session.