Need Supreme Court approval for 10% EWS quota in Medical Colleges: High Court

By:-Arun Shekhar Jawla

The concept of reservation was meant to be for a short period of time when introduced by the Constitution but it has been turning heads repeatedly with further extension each time. On 25 August, the High Court of Madras ruled that quotas for the EWS in medical colleges needed approval from the Supreme Court. 

Further, the bench consisting of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee & Justice PD Audikesavalu has given go-ahead to the July notification by the Central government which provided 27% reservation to OBC candidates in medical colleges.

This latest notification has raised some tough questions for the implementation of the 10% EWS quota, as in the earlier ruling of SC in 1992 judgement, a cap of 50 per cent was fixed. However, this 10% EWS has breached the margin set by the SC. As per the court observation, reservation has been changing heads by regular amendments keeps on reinvigorating the caste system.

The bench further said that “Rather than the caste system being wiped away, the present trend seems to perpetuate it by endlessly extending a measure that was to remain only for a short duration to cover the infancy and, possibly, the adolescence of the Republic. Though the life of a nation-state may not be relatable to the human process of ageing, at over-70, it ought, probably, to be more mature”.

The contempt petition by DMK contended that Central government executives should be held responsible for not executing the order of the HC, which favoured OBC reservations in medical colleges. The notification was issued by the central government on 29 July 2021 as a result of another order dated July 27, 2020, which provided for reservation of SC, STs & OBC categories. The bench clarified its stand by denying permission for the reservation of EWS without the approval of the Supreme Court.

Objections of the Madras HC looked stern for the fact that the 10% quota for EWS is against the quantum of reservation has breached the 50% cap set by the Supreme Court. Even, SC has refused to look into the matter of the 50% cap in early May 2021.

Amazingly, the EWS reservation which was instituted in 2019 in the general elections is still pending before the Supreme Court. The government has given the statement and clearly mentioned that the May verdict of the SC isn’t going to affect EWS quotas.