OBC, reservations, Tamil Nadu, fundamental rights, Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled castes
Justice N Anand Venkatesh gave the verdict while quashing a magistrate’s order to the Coimbatore Police to file a case against those who participated in the cutting of a cake decorated with the Tricolour motif in 2013. | Photo: Wikipedia

After political parties, TN govt moves HC on OBC quota in medical seats

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday (June 17) moved the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Centre seeking reservation for OBC candidates in the all-India quota seats surrendered by it for UG and PG medical courses as per the state law.

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday (June 17) moved the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Centre seeking reservation for OBC candidates in the all-India quota seats surrendered by it for UG and PG medical courses as per the state law.

It filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition a day after the court issued notice to the Centre on a batch of petitions, including those filed by political parties ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK, seeking identical relief.

The PIL filed by state Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan traced the history of reservation policies in Tamil Nadu and said by way of the Constitution 93rd Amendment, the state was empowered to make any special provisions by law for providing quota.

This was for advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes relating to their admission in educational institutions, including those in the private sector, it said.

Referring to the Medical Council of India (MCI) regulations, it said 15 per cent of UG and 50 per cent of PG Medical seats are surrendered to All India Quota by the state every year.

The respective regulations also state that reservation in medical courses shall be as per applicable laws prevailing in states/UTs where the medical colleges are situated.

Related news: Reservation not a fundamental right, says Supreme Court

However, it had been ascertained that the MCI Committeeunder the Director of Health Services of the Union Health Ministry was not following the rule of reservation in filling up the seats.

The provisions of the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and Appointments or posts in the services under the State) Act 1993 were not applied in the admissions, the petition submitted.

It sought a direction to the Centre, the MCI and DGHS to reserve and allot 50 per cent of seats for OBCs under the all-India quota in UG and PG Medical Courses.

A bench comprising Justices R.Subbiah and Krishnan Ramasamy posted the matter for hearing to June 22, when the petitions filed by political parties would also come up.

In their PILs, the AIADMK, DMK, MDMK and DK among others contended that the Centre also did not follow its own policy of 27 per cent reserved seats for OBCs under the 2006 Act.

This had resulted in OBCs being robbed off 10,000 seats in the past three years at least and many more during the preceding years, they claimed.

Related news: States not bound to give quotas for SCs/STs/OBCs, rules SC

The Centre cannot be permitted to turn a blind eye when a significant number of meritorious OBC students were denied seats in the All India Quota, the petitioners submitted.

The PILs have been filed after the Supreme Court had on June 11 refused to entertain pleas challenging the Centre’s decision not to grant 50 per cent reservation to OBCs as per the Tamil Nadu law in medical seats surrendered by the state for medical courses in 2020-21.

While saying that the right to reservation is not a fundamental right, the apex court had asked the political parties to approach the high court with their pleas for grant of OBC quota in medical admissions.

In its directive on June 11, a bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S Ravindra Bhat made it clear that no one could claim reservation as a matter of right and hence it could not be construed as a violation of fundamental rights if quota benefits do not come by.

“Right to reservation is not a fundamental right. That’s the law today,” Justice Rao said.

Related news: Why tribals in Telugu States are angry with SC ruling on reservations

The justices asked lawyers for Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, CPI and CPI(M), and politicians Vaiko and Anbumani Ramadoss to approach the Madras High Court with their pleas.

The bench, appreciating the political parties for coming together for a cause, but maintained that the contention of the petition cannot be accepted.

It said, “whose fundamental rights are being violated? Article 32 is available only for violation of fundamental rights. We assume you are all interested in the fundamental rights of the citizens of Tamil Nadu. But right to reservation is not a fundamental right.”

The political parties had challenged the decision of Centre not to grant 50 per cent reservation to OBCs in seats surrendered by Tamil Nadu in the All India Quota for under graduate, post graduate medical and dental courses in the current academic session.

(With inputs from agencies)

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