27 Percent OBC Reservation opposed, 50 percent sought for Medical Admissions: Madras HC seeks reply from Centre
Chennai: The Madras High Court has asked the Centre to respond to the plea opposing the recent decision of the Central Government to provide 27 per cent OBC reservation in the All India Quota (AIQ) seats in medical admissions. The petition moved by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has demanded 50% reservation instead.At the request of the Union government, the matter has been adjourned...
Chennai: The Madras High Court has asked the Centre to respond to the plea opposing the recent decision of the Central Government to provide 27 per cent OBC reservation in the All India Quota (AIQ) seats in medical admissions. The petition moved by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has demanded 50% reservation instead.
At the request of the Union government, the matter has been adjourned to August 9, 2021.
DMK has informed the Madras High court that the OBC reservation should be implemented as per the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Act, 1993.
Thus, DMK argued that the All India Quota seats will be governed by the same ratio of reservation as indicated in the 1993 Act which was earlier affirmed by the Madras High Court via its earlier order dated 27.07.2020 and also the Supreme Court in October last year.
DMK's contentions came during the hearing of the contempt plea filed by the DMK over the delay in the process of implementation of OBC reservations for AIQ seats in medical admission for the academic year 2021-2022.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the Madras High Court had directed the Central government to form a panel comprising state officers to formulate a method to implement OBC reservation in All India Quota medical seats in non-central institutions.
A division bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy had observed that the decisions to be taken by the panel, with respect to the OBC reservation, would not apply to the present academic year but to the next academic year.
Such a committee, comprising representatives from the Centre, state, and erstwhile Medical Council of India should be constituted within three months, the court said while passing the order on a batch of petitions moved by the Tamil Nadu government, DMK, AIADMK, PMK, and other political parties, challenging the Centre's decision of not providing OBC quota in AIQ seats for medical admission.
Contending that this order was not given full effect to, TKS Elangovan of the DMK filed the present contempt petition.
Meanwhile, recently the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government announced the decision of providing 27 percent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and 10 percent reservation for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) scheme in MBBS, BDS, MD, MS, and MDS admissions.
"Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken a historic and a landmark decision for providing 27 percent reservation for OBCs and 10 percent reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical/dental courses (MBBS / MD / MS / Diploma / BDS / MDS) from the current academic year 2021-22 onwards," an official statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare mentioned on July 29.
As per the Union Government's decision, the overall reservation in 15 percent under-graduate and 50 percent post-graduate All India Quota seats for medical colleges in the State includes, 15% for Scheduled Castes, 7.5% for Scheduled Tribes, 27% for OBC, 10% for EWS, and 5% Horizontal Reservation as per NMC for PwD quota students.
However, during the last hearing of the case, DMK contended that the All India Quota seats should be governed by the same ratio of reservation as indicated in the 1993 Act. This was earlier affirmed by the Madras High Court as well.
Later Supreme Court in its order dated October 26, 2020, had also mentioned that "It is no doubt true that the High Court accepted the submissions of the Appellants that the 1993 Act can be made applicable to All India Quota seats. ..."
The Union Government, on the other hand, contended before the High Court that even the High Court judgment noticed that All India Quota seats were a separate class that would not be governed by the principle of domicile and, accordingly, a Committee was constituted by this court, which was approved by the Supreme Court, to ascertain the extent of reservation that would be desirable in the All India Quota seats.
However, dismissing such a contention, the High Court observed, "Prima facie, such submission militates against the purpose indicated in both the High Court order and the Supreme Court order for constituting the Committee. Both orders indicated that the Committee would work out the modalities of implementation of the reservation for OBC candidates to All India Quota seats in this State. If it is a question of implementation, the Committee was not tasked with the duty of ascertaining the extent of reservation or the inter se allocation thereof between groups."
At this outset, the Court also acknowledged that "there are several paragraphs in the judgment of this court which, despite accepting the Act of 1993 in this State to have a say in the matter, speak of a balance that is required to be struck."
The Court noted that the Committee had struck a balance by indicating that one of the two options suggested could be adopted. Acting on it, the Union Government adopted the second option, strictly in terms of the recommendations of the relevant Committee.
Agreeing that there could be two interpretations of the earlier order of the High Court, the bench observed, "The object of any judicial exercise is ultimately to reach the benefit of the decision to those who are entitled thereto. It is true that contempt being a quasi-criminal jurisdiction, if an order is capable of two meanings and the conduct of the alleged contemnors seems to be guided by either, the fact that the other meaning appeals to the court cannot prompt the court to hold the persons in contempt."
Adjourning the matter to be next heard on August 9, 2021, the bench noted, "The contempt jurisdiction is an equitable mode of execution and this court cannot leave the issue unresolved merely by saying that no contempt has been committed. A judgment has been rendered by this court and such judgment has to be interpreted to ensure that it is implemented, subject to any order of the Supreme Court in such regard. It does not appear that even the petitioner cares too much for the alleged contemnors being hauled up as long as the order of this court of July 27, 2020 is implemented in letter and spirit."
To read the order of the High Court, click on the link below.
Barsha completed her Master's in English from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.