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The Supreme Court will on Friday decide the criteria for admitting OBC students to central institutions like Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University under the 27% quota provision, an issue over which there seems to be considerable confusion.
Justices P. Sathasivam and A. K. Patnaik will address a specific ambiguity should the cutoff for OBCs be 10% less than the cutoff marks for general category or should it be 10% less than the eligibility marks for general category students While cutoffs for general students are very high it touched 100% in the first list at a DU college this year in most institutes, the admission eligibility criteria for general candidates is 50% marks and OBC candidates who score over 40% are considered for admission under the Central Educational Institutes (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006. Citing a constitution bench judgment, senior advocate Indu Malhotra on Wednesday argued that the criteria was to be 10% less than the last cutoff mark for general category candidates. She said JNU was flouting this norm by admitting students who had scored 10% less than the eligibility criteria for general category. Senior advocate A. Mariarputham and Counsel Sanjay Parikh argued that if the cutoff criteria are followed, no OBC candidate would get admission and the seats would have to be offered to general student’s category defeating the purpose of the reservations. Under the 2006 Act, the central educational institutes were asked to increase their seats to accommodate OBC candidates without reducing the intake of general category candidates. In the 2008 judgment in Ashoka Thakur case, the apex court had upheld the constitutional validity of 27% quota for OBC candidates but had warned against dilution of merit. Two judges had recommended lowering the eligibility criteria for OBC candidates by 5% marks, while Justice Dalveer Bhandari was in favour of reducing it by 10% from the cutoff prescribed for general category. A constitution bench in 2009 attempted to clear the air, saying it should be fixed at 10% less than the cutoff prescribed for general candidates. But it appears the confusion between the cutoff and eligibility criteria continues to persist. The argument of OBC candidates is that the central educational institution cannot shut the doors of admission to OBCs by resorting to the last cutoff of admitted general category candidates, which would make most backward class students ineligible for higher studies.
Courtesy: Times of India
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