Tamil Nadu

Right to reservation is not a fundamental right, observes SC judge as parties withdraw plea for quota

Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

Parties across Tamil Nadu’s political spectrum seeking a direction to the Centre to implement 50% reservation for Backward Classes in the State in All India Quota seats for medical and dental course, withdrew their petitions from the Supreme Court on Thursday.

A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao expressing genuine wonder at how political rivals have “come together as one” in this case, allowed them liberty to approach the Madras High Court.

“We see that all the political parties are interested in this case and have come together as one...” Justice Rao noted his surprise during the virtual court hearing.

A lawyer for one of the petitioner parties said, “This has happened before”.

“In State of Tamil Nadu, it has never happened,” Justice Rao remarked.

The Tamil Nadu government, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, the ruling AIADMK party through advocate Balaji Srinivasan, Opposition DMK through senior advocate P. Wilson, Tamil Nadu Congress, CPI(M), etc, filed separate petitions.

The parties accused the Centre of “violating the “right of the people of Tamil Nadu to have a fair education” by not implementing the 50% quota for Backward Classes and Most Backward Classes for the All India Quota seats in medicine and dental science courses — both undergraduate and postgraduate levels — offered by institutions within Tamil Nadu.

At the very beginning, Justice asked Mr. Wilson, whose petition came up first, how the plea was maintainable.

“The reservation is already existing. We are not asking the court to provide any further reservation...” Mr. Wilson responded.

“But you have filed writ petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution. Article 32 petition is for violation of fundamental rights. What fundamental rights have been violated here,” Justice Rao asked.

The senior advocate replied that the right to education and the right to reservation were violated.

“Right to reservation is not a fundamental right... Do you want us to dismiss this or we can otherwise permit you to withdraw...” Justice Rao gave the lawyers an option.

All the parties agreed to withdraw the petitions from the Supreme Court and move the High Court.

‘Unconstitutional action’

The petitions had argued that the action of the Centre and the Medical Council of India to fill All India Quota seats reserved for Backward Classes from the open category was unconstitutional.

“The Director General of Health Services is neither following 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, 1993 to provide 50% reservation for OBC candidates in All India Quota in undergraduate as well as postgraduate medical courses in Tamil Nadu, nor providing 27% reservation for OBC candidates in All India Quota in undergraduate as well as postgraduate medical courses to other States,” the State government’s petition had submitted.

It had said the provisions of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation and Admission) Act, 2006 to grant reservation of 27% to OBC candidates only in central educational institutions was an anomaly as the institutions run by States and private parties would be treated as a “different class having a different rule of reservation”.

The AIADMK had argued that the inaction of the Centre completely undermined the most valuable and basic principle of the “rule of law”.

“There is no rational basis for not extending the benefit of 50% reservation for OBCs, as envisaged under the State laws of Tamil Nadu, to the State-captured seats in the All India Quota,” the ruling party had said.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 1:39:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/right-to-reservation-is-not-fundamental-right-observes-judge-as-tn-parties-withdraw-plea-for-obc-quota-in-medical-courses/article31807732.ece

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