A five-judge bench of Supreme Court headed by justice H.L. Dattu and comprising Jstices S.S. Nijjar, Ranjan Gogoi, M.Y. Eqbal and Vikramajit Sen favored the Centre in taking a call on providing reservation in appointment for faculty posts in specialty and super specialty posts in medical colleges including the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and held that it is for the Central Government to take a decision as to whether there should be reservation in specialty and super specialty posts.
Seeking review of a Constitution Bench judgment which had said it cannot take a view contrary to the one expressed in 1992 by a nine-judge bench in the Indra Sawhney case, also known as the Mandal case, that there could be no compromise with merit at super specialty stage, the apex court was moved by the Centre. With Additional Solicitor General L. Nageshwar Rao presenting his arguments, the bench said the judgment makes it clear that the advice given in the Indra Sawhney case has to be followed by the Centre and also stated that the apex court did not add a word other than what has been said in the Indra Sawhney judgment.
The verdict was pronounced by the apex court on the plea of the Faculty Association of AIIMS against a Delhi High Court judgment, wherein the argument of the Association was that there cannot be any reservation for faculty posts to specialty and super specialty faculty courses in AIIMS. However, a contrary stand was taken by AIIMS and the Centre and had requested that the reservation be given to SC/STs and Backward classes candidates in appointment to assistant professors and other senior posts in specialty and super specialty courses. According to reports of The Hindu, the apex court further added that all it can do is add one sentence that it is for Central Government to take decisions to amend the Constitution and left it to the Centre to take a decision on the controversial aspect of reservation. The bench disagreed with the Centre’s submission that advice has taken the shape of direction in the judgment, and said if the Centre wants to give reservation, it can give it and if the matter comes to court, then the court will see to it. It is further reported that in July last year, the apex court had said that it cannot take a different view, even though it has been suggested that such an observation of Mandal verdict was not binding, being obiter in nature, it will have to take note of the restraint specified in Indra Sawhney’s case. The apex court referred to various judgments including that of the Mandal case, and said it impress upon the Central and State Governments to take applicable steps in accordance with the views expressed in Indra
Sawhney’s case and in this case, as also the other decisions referred to above, considering the provisions of Article 335 (claims of SC/ST to service and posts) of the Constitution.