Non-Implementation Of EWS Reservation For Veterinary & Dental Courses Under KEAM: Kerala High Court Issues Notice

Delay in implementing EWS reservation to veterinary and dental course is infringement of Article 14 of the Constitution, states the plea.

Update: 2021-12-02 13:15 GMT

A plea has reached the Kerala High Court challenging the non-implementation of reservation earmarked for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) for Veterinary and Dental Courses under Kerala Engineering Architecture ad Medical (KEAM).The matter was first mentioned before Justice N. Nagaresh who issued notice to the respondents. Today, it was taken up by Justice Murali Purushothaman and has been...

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A plea has reached the Kerala High Court challenging the non-implementation of reservation earmarked for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) for Veterinary and Dental Courses under Kerala Engineering Architecture ad Medical (KEAM).

The matter was first mentioned before Justice N. Nagaresh who issued notice to the respondents.

Today, it was taken up by Justice Murali Purushothaman and has been listed on 6th December for hearing. 

The petitioner is a candidate identified under the category of Economically Weaker Section. Being an eligible candidate, he had applied for the KEAM entrance examination.

The Commissioner of Entrance Examination issued a prospectus for admission to professional degree courses.

The prospectus entailed rules and general information regarding the entrance examination, courses offered and the mode of allocation of seats, including the manner of seat allocation for the reserved category of students. 

Clause 4.1.5 of the prospectus explains the percentage of seats set apart to different categories of students.

Similarly, clause 4.3 dealt with the reservation of seats for EWS in the general category. This clause contained 2 parts dealing with: 

(1) Government Orders issued by the State to implement the reservation for EWS in the general category to all Higher Educational Institutions other than minority institutions. 

(2) In case of courses/institutions for which the additional seats required for the implementation of EWS quota are not already sanctioned by the respective central council, the institution wise breakup under EWS quota will be notified separately as and when required additional seats are sanctioned.   

A perusal of the rank list published in 2020 for the said entrance examination reveals that the State government had excluded the EWS category reservation from the veterinary and dental courses.

The petitioner contended that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had issued an Office Memorandum dated 17th January 2019 directing to implement EWS in all the educational institutions with the prior approval of the appropriate authority by increasing the number of seats to the respective courses. 

Relying on this memorandum, the petitioner approached the court challenging the non-implementation of EWS to the veterinary and dental courses. After hearing the matter, he was permitted to withdraw the case with liberty to move afresh.

Accordingly, a fresh plea has been filed through Advocates Dheeraj Rajan and Anand K. with the following contentions: 

  • A constitutional amendment was brought in to promote social equality by providing opportunities in higher education and employment to those who have been excluded by virtue of their economic status, i.e., EWS.
  • The EWS scheme is beneficial legislation and it has to be interpreted harmoniously so as to grant benefits to the economically weaker section of the society. 
  • Once a reservation takes effect in the respective governments, it becomes a vested right of the eligible candidate to be identified under the said category of reservation and it has to be implemented in any contingency.
  • Delay in implementing EWS reservation to the veterinary and dental course is per se illegal and an infringement of Article 14 of the Constitution. 
  • Articles 15(6) and 16(6) are enabling provisions conferring power upon the State to implement the Reservation category of EWS in the whole State. So it is mandatory and obligatory for the authorities to provide the same unconditionally. 

Accordingly, the plea sought directions to the Dental Council of India and Veterinary Council of India to increase the number of seats to the Veterinary and Dental Courses to implement the reservation category of the EWS. 

The petitioner further sought a direction to the Councils to implement Officer Memorandum issued by the Centre to the respective courses offered by them. 

Case Title: Vinay Shankar v. Union of India & Ors.

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