New Delhi, Apr 10 (UNI) Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today hailed as ''historic'' the Supreme Court judgement on the 27 per cent quota for OBCs in Centrally-run institutions of higher education, saying it would remove a major distortion of Indian society.
''The momentous verdict is a slap on the face of the BJP, which has been indirectly supporting those who have challenged the validity of the 93rd amendment of the constitution in the court,'' Mr Prasad told reporters.
A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, upheld the validity of the act by a majority of 4:1 with Justice Dalveer Bhandari dissenting.
The apex court also ruled that if the basis of reservation is caste, the creamy layer among these castes must be excluded from the benefits of reservation policy.
Mr Prasad, who heads the Rashtriya Janata Dal, observed that the apex court's observation on exclusion of creamy layer from the ambit of reservation benefits, was in the form of a suggestion.
''It is for the government to decide the scope and ambit of creamy layer segment. The RJD will discuss it with the government whenever it becomes necessary,'' he added.
Mr Prasad also trashed the charge that the verdict would dilute merit in the higher educational institutions.
''It is ludicrous to contend that merit is a preprogative of the upper castes. There are meritorious students in the SC, ST and OBC categories, and they need all kinds of encouragement,'' he argued.
''The historic verdict is a testimony to the fact that judiciary, democracy and Constitution are alive in the country and it will give an impetus to those who have been marginalised in the development process.'' The RJD president said the Supreme Court had delivered a similar judgement in the Mandal Commission case and its ruling in the present case was almost similar.
''I welcome the judgement, and those who are opposed to the reservation should also welcome it because the ruling has come from the paramount court of the country,'' he said.
The apex court made it clear that there will be no exclusion of creamy layer for now as far as the reservation for SCs and STs are concerned.
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