J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: Reservation to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in postgraduate medical courses being a policy matter, the court cannot give a direction compelling a State government to provide a quota, the Supreme Court held on Wednesday. “The consistent view of this court is that Article 15 (4) of the Constitution [providing reservation] is only an enabling provision and it is for the respective States to either enact legislation or issue an executive instruction providing reservation in postgraduate courses,” a Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal said.

“After all, medical education is an important issue which should not have any mandatory condition of reservation which may give rise to a situation against the public interest if so interpreted by the State government, as the State government is in a better position to determine the situation and requirement of that particular State, as mandated by the Constitution.”

Writing the judgment, Justice Sathasivam said: “As the State government is competent to make reservation to a particular class or category, until it is decided by the State, as being a policy matter, there cannot be any direction to provide reservation at the postgraduate level.”

The Bench said the PG degree/diploma in medical education was governed by the Medical Council of India and even the MCI had not strictly adhered to the reservation rules in admissions for the SCs/STs at the PG level. “In our view, every State can take its own decision with regard to reservation depending on various factors.” In the instant case, Dr. Gulshan Prakash and others questioned the prospectus issued by the Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, Haryana, for 2007-2008 without providing reservation for the SCs/STs in PG courses.