Madras HC against EWS quota in all-India medical seats

Madras High Court says no to EWS reservation in all-India quota medical seats

The Centre had in July decided to provide 27 per cent reservation for OBCs and 10 per cent reservation for EWS under AIQ

The judges also observed as a “footnote” that the entire concept of reservation that appears to have been addressed by the Constituent Assembly while framing the Constitution may have been “turned on its head". Credit: iStockPhoto

The Madras High Court on Wednesday ruled as “impermissible” the Union Government providing 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) medical seats, maintaining that such a decision would require the approval of the Supreme Court.

The court, while turning down DMK’s plea seeking 50 per cent reservation for OBCs in the seats surrendered by the state government for AIQ, also approved the 27 per cent OBC reservation in the AIQ quota medical seats for admission to medical colleges.

Though the discussion in this judgment pertains to Tamil Nadu, the court said, but it must be noticed that reservation in AIQ seats for admission to the undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma medical and dental courses across the States must be uniform.

Logically, if the AIQ seats are thrown open to candidates across the country, there cannot be reservation to one extent in one state and reservation to another extent in another state, the bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu observed.

“However, the inclusion of a further 10 per cent by way of vertical reservation for economically weaker sections would require the approval of the Supreme Court and, to such extent, the reservation for economically weaker sections as indicated in the notification of July 29, 2021, has to be regarded as impermissible till such approval is obtained,” the bench added.

The Centre had in July decided to provide 27 per cent reservation for OBCs and 10 per cent reservation for EWS under AIQ for undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses. The bench said the Centre’s July 29, 2021 notification appears to be in order insofar as it provides for reservation for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and OBC categories. The horizontal reservation provided in such notification for persons with disabilities also appears to be in accordance with the law, it added.

“The additional reservation provided for economically weaker sections in the notification of July 29, 2021, cannot be permitted, except with the approval of the Supreme Court in such regard,” the bench said, dismissing a contempt petition against Centre filed by the DMK.

The judges also observed as a “footnote” that the entire concept of reservation that appears to have been addressed by the Constituent Assembly while framing the Constitution may have been “turned on its head by repeated amendments and the veritable reinvigoration of the caste system”. The caste system is being reinvigorated instead of empowering citizens so that merit may ultimately decide matters as to admission, appointment and promotion, the judges noted.

“Rather than the caste system being wiped away, the present trend seems to perpetuate it by endlessly extending a measure that was to remain only for a short duration to cover the infancy and, possibly, the adolescence of the Republic. Though the life of a nation-state may not be relatable to the human process of ageing, but at over-70, it ought, probably, to be more mature,” the bench said.

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