Reservation for SCs, STs not mandatory in PG courses: SC

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 - 22:05

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that
providing reservation benefits to SC, ST and OBC candidates in
postgraduate courses is the sole discretion of the government
and a student cannot claim it as a matter of fundamental
right.

A three judge bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan,
Justice P Sathasivam and Justice J M Panchal said though a
preferential treatment can be given to the candidates
belonging to the reserved and underprivleged communities, yet,
there is no Constitutional obligation for the Government to
fulfil the same.

"Article 15(4) is an enabling provision and the State
Government is the best judge to grant reservation for
SC/ST/Backward Class categories at Post-Graduate level in
admission and the decision of the State of Haryana not to make
any provision for reservation at the Post-Graduate level
suffers no infirmity."

"In our view, every State can take its own decision with
regard to reservation depending on various factors," Justice P
Sathasivam writing the judgement observed.

The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing the
appeal of a medical student Gulshan Prakash and others
challenging the denial of reservation benefits to SC/STs in
post graduate courses MD/MS/PG Diploma and MDS offered by
Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, Haryana for Academic
Session 2007-2008.

Interpreting Articles 15(4) and 16(4) the apex court
said the provisions only talks of a preferential treatment to
the disadvantaged sections of the society, but does not
make it mandatory.

Citing its earlier rulings, the Supreme Court said,"
Article 16(4) of the Constitution confers a discretion and
does not create any constitutional duty and obligation.

The principle behind Article 15(4) is that a
preferential treatment can be given validly when the
socially and educationally backward classes need it.

"This article enables the State Government to make
provisions for upliftment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes including reservation of seats for admission to
educational institutions," the bench said.

According to the apex court since the provision is
only discretionary, courts cannot issue and writ (direction)
for its enforcement.

It rejected the argument of the petitioner that since
reservation has been provided by the government at the
undergraduate level, the same should also be followed at the
postgraduate level.

"Since the Government of Haryana has decided to grant
reservation for SC/ST categories/Backward Class candidates in
admission at MBBS level i.e. under graduate level, then it
does not mean that it is bound to grant reservation at the
Post-Graduate level also," the apex court said while
dismissing the appeal.

However, the apex court added, "we make it clear that
irrespective of above conclusion, State of Haryana is free to
reconsider its earlier decision, if they so desire, and
circumstances warrant in the future years."

-PTI



First Published: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 - 22:05
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