It won't stay A.P. High Court order

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh High Court order that quashed 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities in central educational institutions such as the IITs, and ticked off the government for the way it had handled the “complex” and “sensitive” issue.

The apex court expressed its “unhappiness” that the Centre was blaming the High Court when it had itself failed to produce documents to support its case.

A Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and J.S. Khehar was critical of the Ministry of Human Resource Development rushing to the apex court with the appeal against the May 28 order of the High Court without documents to justify the policy of carving out 4.5 per cent sub-quota within the 27 per cent OBC reservation.

Without issuing any notice, the Bench asked Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati to produce before it the supporting documents on the issue by Tuesday and posted the matter for hearing to Wednesday.

The Bench said it cannot stay the High Court order “unless the government produces material to show a detailed exercise was undertaken to carve out the sub-quota.”

The Attorney General started submissions by taking the “blame on his shoulders” for the outcome of the sub-quota policy in the High Court by saying that the “argument was not the most brilliant.”

He sought some protection in view of the ongoing counselling for IITs for which 325 candidates had qualified for it under the 4.5 per cent sub quota and their career and future could be jeopardised if they are not allowed to appear for the counselling.

When Mr. Vahanvati said there was need for some protection in view of the ongoing counselling for IITs, the Bench said, “We will not order stay.”

“First of all you have not produced any documents in the High Court. We would have been happy, if you had done so,” the Bench said.

The Bench wanted to know from Mr. Vahanvati as to what was the basis and how did the government determine 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities.

When he sought to point out errors in the High Court order, the Bench said it was natural for the High Court to ask questions on which the Centre was complaining. The Bench, which was not in agreement with Mr. Vahanvati that the “High Court has gone completely wrong,” said “when the December 22, 2011 Office Memorandum (OM) (on 4.5 per cent sub-quota) reflected nothing, the High Court will ask questions.”

“Without placing documents, how can you find fault with the High Court [order],” the bench said adding that “where is the material and the High Court says nothing is produced.” When Mr. Vahanvati said the High Court also missed the 1993 notification on caste identification, the Bench wanted to know whether it was placed before it or not.

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