'HRD ministry’s quota haste angered SC'

The Andhra Pradesh high court judgement on minorities’ sub-quota within the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota divided the human resource development ministry and the law ministry on the follow-up action. The court had struck down the 4.5 per cent sub-quota on 28 May.

Soon after the human resource development ministry moved the Supreme Court, seeking clarity on the fate of 300 students admitted to the Indian Institute of Technology under the sub-quota. But, the law ministry had opposed this move. The ministry officials told Millennium Post that the law minister Salman Khurshid had earlier recommended that the government should approach court only in July, when the courts re-open after the summer vacation. Khurshid had suggested that the affected IIT students or their parents should file a public-interest petition in the apex court, with the government backing them. He had opposed any ministry getting directly involved in the matter.

A source in the law ministry says, ‘Even after Khurshid had clearly stated this, the HRD ministry jumped the gun and filed an appeal in the apex court during vacations. The matter was then taken up by a vacation bench. And, because the HRD ministry had not done its homework, it turned out to be a huge embarrassment to the government.’

‘Mr Khurshid had all documentary evidence to support the government’s case, but the HRD ministry went ahead and filed the appeal much earlier. However, the law ministry will provide them all the support required on this issue,’ added the source.

An HRD ministry official reacted, ‘The stay from the court has not been given till now, and the case will go on.’ Clearly he played safe and did not comment on the inter-ministerial disagreement.
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