Chennai: In a significant judgement, the Madras High Court has upheld the 7.5 per cent reservation provided by the Tamilnadu government for government school students in admission to medical courses.
Passing the orders on a batch of writ petitions challenging the constitutional
validity of the reservation, the First Bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath
Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy, while allowing the State to continue the 7.5 per cent quota, directed the State to review the reservation in five years as recommended by the committee headed by Justice (retired) P Kalaiyarasan.
‘The state shall continue the reservation for the next five years. Within the span of five years, the government should take steps to improve the standard of education in government schools. The reservation cannot be extended beyond five years,’ the bench observed.
During the course of arguments, the state government justified the reservation
and contended that the quota was instrumental in bridging the rural-urban and
rich-poor gap in landing MBBS seats.
The state government is competent and empowered to give such institutional
preferences and the same has been approved by the Supreme Court, it added.
Pointing out that mark alone is not the determinative factor for merit, the state argued that the ‘cultural capital’ that forward community students inherit from their family must be offset.
According to the petitioners, the general category candidates has only 31 per cent seats available due to the 69 per cent reservation policy followed in the State. Now, it has been further pushed by the 7.5 per cent quota, they said.
Appearing for the State government senior counsel P Wilson submitted that the special reservation was very essential to bridge the gap between the rural-urban and rich-poor gap.
‘This reservation can be termed as the institutional preference of the State
government and the State is competent of providing the 7.5 per cent reservation for the government school students for the medical admissions,’ he submitted.
Senior Counsel Kabil Sibal argued that the 7.5 per cent reservation is provided on the basis of government school students’ socio-economical background and infrastructure.
Chief Minister M K Stalin termed as historic, the Madras High Cort upholding 7.5 per cent reservation for government school students in medical admissions.
Making a statement in the State Assembly soon after the High Court
pronounced the verdict, he said the law was brought based on proper
statistics and discussions. He said it was big recognition given by the High Court for reservation.
‘This is the third victory for the DMK government in its 10-month long
rule for social justice’, Stalin said amid thumping of desks by the members
of the Treasury Benches.
The reservation for government school students was brought by the
AIADMK government in 2020.
Stalin also said the DMK government had passed a law to provide 7.5 per
cent reservation in engineering/agriculture/fisheries/veterinary courses in government colleges, universities and self-financing colleges.
Tamilnadu will continue to act in upholding social justice in people’s
forum and in court and continue its historic duty to show the way to
the country, he said.
The Dravidian model governance of the DMK will work tirelessely towards
it, he added.