Reservation not fundamental right: Supreme Court on OBC quota plea in Tamil Nadu medical colleges
The Supreme Court while appreciating the concern of all political parties for the welfare of backward classes stated that reservation is not a fundamental right.
Reservation is not a fundamental right, ruled the Supreme Court on June 11, 2020 while rejecting a batch of petitions seeking the implementation of 50 percent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the all-India quota for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses in Tamil Nadu.
The plea was filed by various parties including DMK, AIADMK, CPI, CPI(M) and Tamil Nadu Congress. The Supreme Court while appreciating the concern of all political parties for the welfare of backward classes stated that reservation is not a fundamental right.
The pleas were heard by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice LN Rao. All political parties then withdrew their petitions with the liberty to approach the Madras High Court. The hearing was conducted through video conferencing.
• The Supreme Court bench observed verbally that no case was made out for the petitioners to approach the top court directly under Article 32, which is a remedy available under the Indian Constitution in case there is a violation of a fundamental right.
• Justice LN Rao’s observation reiterated the bench’s earlier verdict that reservation cannot be claimed as a fundamental right.
• The observation came after Justice Rao sought to know the cause of filing such a petition at the top court under Article 32. He stated that this can only be done when a fundamental right is violated. He asked the counsel appearing on behalf of the parties to tell the bench if there is a violation of a fundamental right.
• Senior advocate P. Wilson, appearing for DMK, had argued that the OBC’s right to education was being violated and their right to reservation. The top court responded to this claim by ruling that reservation is not a fundamental right.
OBC quota plea in Tamil Nadu medical colleges
The various parties of Tamil Nadu had filed a plea against Centre’s move to proceed with all-India counselling for medical courses, without implementing OBC reservation in Tamil Nadu. The petition stated that the OBCs were grossly under-represented in the past academic years in the all-India quota seats for undergraduate and postgraduate medical colleges across the country.
The uniqueness of the plea was that it brought all parties on the same platform, which has not happened before in Tamil Nadu. The Supreme Court bench also commented on the rare happening.