Reservation for SCs, STs not mandatory in PG courses: SC
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Last Updated: Wednesday, December 02, 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."


First Published: Wednesday, December 02, 2009, 22:05

Tag: SCSTReservation
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