In a relief to the anti-quota camp, the Supreme Court Friday reversed an earlier order directing the government to reserve 10 percent seats on an all-India basis for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes candidates in post-graduate medical courses for the 2006-07 academic year.
A bench of judges K.G. Balakrishnan, A.R. Lakshmanan and D.K. Jain accepted the submissions of Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam that enforcing the 10 percent quota order for this year would create practical difficulties.
He said admissions this year should be free of reservations in the 50 per cent all India quota as this was not provided for in the prospectuses that had already been issued.
The reservations will, however, continue in the 50 percent state quota.
The bench had passed the interim order April 24 on a writ petition filed by a batch of 14 doctors challenging the method of calculating seats reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes candidates in post-graduate medical courses.
When the matter was again taken up today, Subramaniam pointed out that under an earlier apex court judgement, the 50 percent all-India quota was free of any reservations. This was contemplated only under the 50 percent state quota.
He said many scheduled castes and scheduled tribes candidates had not taken the test for the all-India quota because there was no reservation. Thus, the interim order to provide 10 percent seats for them would create problems.
Stating that the government was conscious of its constitutional obligations to provide reservations for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes candidates, Subramaniam said it would do so in the 2007-08 academic year. The bench then vacated its interim order.
The petitioners contended that under the previous apex court judgement, 50 percent of post-graduate medical seats were reserved for the all-India quota and 50 percent for the state quota. It was also made clear that the 50 percent all India quota would be calculated after deducting the number of seats set apart for the reserved categories.
Their grievance was that contrary to this judgement, this year's admission bulletin stated that quota for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes candidates would be calculated on the 50 percent seats available after deducting the 50 percent all-India quota.