The Madras High Court on Monday adjourned to July 9 a batch of cases filed by many political parties in the State seeking 50% reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in All India quota medical seats in non-central institutions.
Justices R. Subbiah and Krishnan Ramasamy took the decision since the Centre reported to the court that the Supreme Court was slated to hear a related case (Saloni Kumar versus Director General of Health Services), pending since 2015, on July 8.
Senior counsel P. Wilson, representing the DMK, argued that the Supreme Court had not passed any interim orders in Saloni Kumar’s case, which had also been filed seeking quota for OBCs, and hence there was no legal impediment to reserve seats forthwith.
He pointed out that the Centre had admitted the possibility of providing reservations for OBCs in seats surrendered by the State governments to All India quota seats but was unnecessarily waiting for the Supreme Court verdict in Saloni Kumar’s case.
He also insisted that 50% of seats should be reserved for OBCs in Tamil Nadu and not just 27% as it was being followed by the Centre. Senior Counsel G. Masilamani and AR.L. Sundaresan, representing PMK and AIADMK respectively, also made similar submissions.
Since the State government too had filed a writ petition seeking 50% reservations for OBCs, Advocate General Vijay Narayan told the court that before 1986, all seats in State government medical colleges were filled up only by local residents of respective States.
Hence, the Supreme Court on September 21, 1986 ordered creation of an All India quota in non-central institutions and directed all States to surrender 15% of seats in under graduation and 25% in post graduation to the quota so that candidates across the country could compete.
In 2005, the apex court raised the percentage of postgraduate seats to be surrendered from 25% to 50% while deciding Prakash Sharma versus Union of India. Subsequently, in 2007, it ordered reserving 15% of All India quota seats for Scheduled Castes and 7.5% to Scheduled Tribes.
The court had also ordered that the seats surrendered to All India quota should be reverted back to the State governments concerned, if the Centre could not fill them up after two rounds of counselling and hence that procedure was being followed till date.
“In 2017-18, the State government surrendered 455 postgraduate medical seats and 58 of them were reverted. In 2018-19, 99 of 453 seats were reverted and in 2019-20, 121 of 506 seats were reverted. All the reverted seats were filled up as per reservation policy in the State,” the A-G said.
Now that the Centre had agreed to provide reservations for OBCs too, Tamil Nadu should be permitted to provide 50% reservations to them without any restrictions, he insisted.
On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General G. Rajagopalan told the court that OBCs had not been provided reservations in All India quota medical seats in non-central institutions since 1986. Now, the Centre had decided to abide by Supreme Court directions.
Therefore, the political parties from Tamil Nadu could implead themselves as parties before the Supreme Court in Saloni Kumar’s case, he said.