CHENNAI: Observing that there was no Constitutional and legal impediment to the extension of reservation for OBCs in the State-surrendered seats, the Madras High Court on Monday directed the Central government to constitute a committee with the participation state medical authorities and the Medical Council of India in providing reservation for Other Backward Class (OBcs)under All India Quota (AIQ) in state-run colleges. The court also directed the Centre to decide on the percentage in three months.
The court observed, "The matter has to be resolved between the state and the centre with the participation of the MCI and Dental council. Therefore, we find that it would be appropriate that the issue is referred to a committee for providing the terms of implementation of such reservation as claimed by the petitioners."
The two-member first bench comprising Chief Justice AP Sahi and justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy delivered the judgement on the plea submitted by all the political parties including the ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK.
The court in its 170-page order observed, " On principle, there is no legal or constitutional impediment for extending the benefit of reservation to the other backward categories in the State surrendered All India quota seats of the UG/PG medical courses in the State-run medical colleges within Tamil Nadu subject to any further directions or orders of the Apex Court."
The Court also noted that the Tamil Nadu Government has a law for 50% OBC reservation and only requires implementation, which has to be carried out by the central authorities.
Rejecting the contention of MCI that permitting reservation in AIQ seats would compromise merit, the court said, “This argument gets diluted, as NEET examinations are now clearly designed to allow only such candidates to be admitted, who secure minimum merit.”
The court also took note of the MCI regulation submitted by DMK which said that the reservation policy as adopted by the state would apply to medical seats without expressly excluding AIQ seats, an affidavit
filed by the Union government both in the Supreme Court and the high court informing the proposal to provide OBC reservation subject to a condition that the overall reservation will not exceed 50% of seats.
Citing several judgements by the Supreme Court the bench passed the orders saying that it will not be passing any positive directions since it cannot interfere in policy matters of the government unless any fundamental rights are affected.
"The interference with a policy matter, if already taken, maybe permissible through a judicial review to a limited extent but, on the other hand, it is debatable as to whether a policy framed in the shape of a proposal and not implemented can be enforced in the absence of a crystallized legal right,” observed the court.
The court also made it clear that any decision of the committee would apply only to future academic years and not this academic year.