Writ Petition SummaryOBC & EWS Reservation in Postgraduate Medical Admissions
The petitioners are two students who have applied for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in medicine. They fall under the unreserved category for medical seats.
The All India Quota (AIQ) scheme was introduced in 1986 to ensure that a portion of seats in State government medical colleges were open to all, and not just reserved for students with domicile status. For 20 years, states were under no obligation to reserve seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/STs). In 2006, the Court held that 22.5% reservation in AIQ should be included for SC/STs. No reservations were granted to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in AIQ.
On July 29th 2021, the National Testing Agency issued an admissions notice providing for 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) admitted under the AIQ, for both UG and PG medical courses.
Four writ petitions have been filed challenging the July 2021 Notice. The petitions are filed on the grounds that the Notice violates the rights of unreserved, meritorious candidates under the AIQ scheme in State government medical institutions.
What do the petitioners seek?
The petitioner requested the Court to:
Declare the Notice introducing reservations for OBCs and EWS students in the All India Quota for medical seats unconstitutional, and in violation of the 102nd Amendment;
Grant a stay on the implementation of the Notice until the present case is disposed of.
Lack of Data Proving ‘Backwardness’
In 2021, the Court held that the 102nd Amendment takes away the powers of States to identify OBCs. The list of OBCs are to be determined by the President. The petitioners contend since that list is not ready, there is no contemporaneous data to show that the categories of persons included under OBCs are ‘backward’. Due to the lack of data, any reservation made for these categories is unconstitutional.
The petitioners also note that the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 requires the Union government to conduct a survey of OBCs every 10 years (s 11). The 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% for EWS is based on the Mandal Commission Report, 1980 which relied on data from the census conducted in 1931. The petitioners argue that this data has no relevance in 2021, and cannot form the basis for reservations.
Finally, the petitioners note that there is no rationale provided by the Union government for introducing a 10% reservation to students from the EWS category.