The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday ruled that the reservation of 5 per cent seats for the MBBS course in ESIC medical colleges was available only to “wards of the insured persons” under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation Act and not for “wards of the employees of the ESIC”.
A Division Bench comprising N. Kumar and V. Suri Appa Rao passed the order while dismissing the petitions filed by Trived M. Setty and five other children of medical and non-medical ESIC staff working in Bangalore. The petitioners had questioned the August 16, 2013 notification inviting applications for admission to the MBBS course for the academic year 2013-14 in which reservation was provided only for “wards of the insured persons” under the ESIC management quota.
The petitioners had contended that the Ministry of Labour, which governs the ESIC, had in 2010 written a letter to the Director-General of ESIC to reserve 5 per cent of the total seats for “wards of the employees of the ESIC”. But, in the admission notification for 2013-14, no such reservation had been provided.
The ESIC, however, contended that though there was such a proposal initially, as a policy, the ESIC did not provide reservation for either wards of employees or wards of employers.
Upholding the action of the ESIC, the High Court said that the ESIC was an institution run from the contributions made by insured employees with a salary of less than Rs. 15,000 a month. Hence, the court said, it was a reservation for only wards of financially and economically backward “insured employees”. The court also agreed with the contention of the ESIC that its employees were economically well placed and they [ESI employees] are not making any contribution towards ESIC benefits. Moreover, they are paid from the contributions made by members of the ESIC scheme. The court ruled that the admission notification was in accordance with the policy of the government and the objective of the ESIC Act.