Looks like this arbitrary, nationwide limit is now history:
The Supreme Court today virtually lifted its 50 per cent cap on job and education quotas, allowing Tamil Nadu to exceed the volume if “quantifiable data” justified it.
The order implies that any state can now do a headcount of all groups it deems backward, place the numbers before the state backward commission, secure its recommendation for higher or additional quotas, and pass a law implementing them. Such higher quotas can no longer be legally challenged for exceeding the 50 per cent ceiling but only on other grounds, such as a faulty headcount.
Here's what this ruling implies for the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka:
The quota volume in [Tamil Nadu] can, therefore, rise even above the existing 69 per cent if the data justify it. Tamil Nadu would ideally like 88 per cent reservations.
Neighbouring Karnataka, which had enacted a 50 per cent quota for the Other Backward Classes in addition to 23 per cent for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes — raising the total to 73 per cent — too has been allowed the same leeway.
Till a year from today, the quota volume in Karnataka will stay at 50 per cent, but the state can within that period do a survey of backward communities. If its backward commission then accepts that the data justify a hike to 73 per cent or higher, the state can pass a law to that effect.
Karnataka wants 57 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes alone, which means a total quota volume of 80 per cent.