The Madras High Court today ruled that there are no constitutional impediments for the Central Government to frame laws to provide reservation to the Other Backward Categories, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the State surrendered seats in the all India quota for medical seats in Tamil Nadu.
The Bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthil Ramamoorthy passed the verdict on a batch of pleas filed by a number of petitioners, including various political parties in Tamil Nadu as well as the Tamil Nadu Government.
Refraining from issuing a mandamus to the Government, the Court stated that a straight Mandamus for extending the benefit of reservation from this Court may not be possible unless a crystallized right takes a shape.
However it clarified that
"...on principle there is no legal or constitutional impediment for extending the benefit of reservation to the other backward categories in the State surrendered All India quota seats of the UG/PG medical courses in the State run medical colleges within Tamil Nadu subject to any further directions or orders of the Apex Court."
The Court thereby directed the Central Government to form a Committee to provide the terms of implementation of such reservation for courses to be run from the next academic year onwards. It stated that such committee must ensure participation from the Central Government, the State Government, Medical Council of India and the Dental Council of India.
With regard to the percentage of such reservation, the Court expressed caution stating that
"Balance has to be struck is in order to avoid any undesirable disbalance of representation of candidates qualifying on merit in the NEET examinations. The minimum merit and the preparation of the list of candidates entitled to admission having been taken care of by the NEET examinations, it cannot be said that merit would be compromised if reservation is introduced in favour of Other Backward Categories in the All India quota, who have qualified in the NEET examinations, but, that is an issue for which a decision has to be taken upon a joint deliberation and consideration of all such factors that may be necessary so as to implement the policy by any appropriate fusion and the protection of interests and at the same time maintaining a balance of the representations of each category of candidates in their respective proportions."
The Court thus directed the Central Government to specify the percentage of such reservation for OBCs preferably within three months from the date of order.
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