Tamil Nadu

Is it possible to extend OBC medical, dental seat quota in Tamil Nadu this year, SC asks Centre

Show of solidarity: Vellore Government Medical College students forming a human chain on Saturday demanding 50% reservation in PG admission.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked lawyers for the National Medical Commission (NMC) and the Centre to find out whether reservation benefits can be extended to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in medical and dental seats contributed to the All-India Quota (AIQ) by State government-run colleges in Tamil Nadu this year itself.

“Is it possible to get reservation applied this year? We want you to get instructions on whether there is a real difficulty in getting it done this year,” Justice L. Nageswara Rao, heading a three-judge Bench, asked advocate Gaurav Sharma for NMC and Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh for the Centre. The court then scheduled a hearing for October 15.

The development came even as the Madras High Court, in July, directed the Centre to form a committee and fix the percentage and other terms of OBC reservation from next year. The High Court had not wanted to disturb the admission process this year. The Tamil Nadu government and political parties across the spectrum, from ruling AIADMK, represented by advocate Balaji Srinivasan, to the Opposition DMK, represented by senior advocate P. Wilson, had appealed to the apex court.

Interim relief

As the hearing began, senior advocates V. Giri and M. Yogesh Kanna, for Tamil Nadu government, prayed for some interim relief. Mr. Giri conveyed a sense of immediacy, pointing out that the results for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) could be published any day now.

He submitted that the High Court had agreed on all points in favour of granting 69% reservation (50% reservation for OBCs, 18% for SCs and 1% for STs) 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 of 1993. He said the 69% reservation would benefit the depressed classes in the State.

He referred to Lok Sabha documents submitted by Mr. Wilson in which the Health Ministry had conveyed its “pro-active stand” in favour of “State-specific” reservation in AIQ seats. Mr. Wilson submitted that the future of several hundreds of students were at stake. He said the high court-directed committee was formed on September 7. “Till today they are not able to take a decision,” he submitted.

Justice Rao suggested adjourning the case after the Dussehra holidays to give the committee enough time to decide. But Mr. Wilson intervened strongly, saying the matter may become infructuous because of NEET results.

“Without prejudice to the rights of the parties, the Centre can give at least 27% of reservations implemented in the Centre-run educational institutions to the State-surrendered AIQ seats as a temporary arrangement till the High Court-directed committee decides the issue,” Mr. Wilson said.

In his turn, Mr. Singh responded the committee had met on September 22. Tamil Nadu, which is a member, was asked to submit its proposal on the reservation benefits. The State representative is yet to revert. He highlighted that it would be difficult to implement “State-specific” reservations. “Multiple States will come requesting seats for their OBCs,” Mr. Singh contended. Moreover, he said the apex court had placed an embargo of 50% on overall reservation while Tamil Nadu's was at 69% as per the 1993 Act.

At this point, Mr. Srinivasan countered pointedly that the Centre could not make these contentions as it had not even appealed the High Court verdict in the first place.

Justice Rao acknowledged the objection raised by Mr. Srinivasan.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2020 4:39:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/is-it-possible-to-extend-obc-medical-dental-seat-quota-in-tn-this-year-sc-asks-centre/article32848925.ece

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