The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the Central government to provide 27 per cent reservation for OBC and 10 per cent to economically weaker sections (EWS) in All India quota (AIQ) seats in medical courses, saying that reservation is not at odds with the merit, rather furthers its distributive impact.
A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: "Competitive exams do not reflect economic social advantage which is accrued to some classes. Merit should be socially contextualised."
Pronouncing detailed reasons for its decision, the top court said, "Reservation is not at odds with merit but furthers it's distributive impact."
Citing that when a matter involves constitutional interpretation, the bench said the judicial propriety will not allow the court to stay the quota, in the backdrop that counselling has not commenced.
A group of petitioners led by Neil Aurelio Nunes moved the top court challenging Centre's July 29, 2021 notification to implement OBC and EWS reservation in NEET-All India Quota from the current academic session in the postgraduate courses.
The top court emphasised that judicial intervention at this stage will further delay the admission process this year, and it would also trigger litigation. "We are still in midst of the pandemic and thus the nation needs doctors," the bench said.
The apex court also declared that Pradeep Jain judgement can't be read to mean no reservation in AIQ seats.
In connection with the EWS quota, the top court said the petitioners' argument was not limited to the quota in AIQ, but it was also on the criteria adopted by the Central government. Emphasising that this aspect requires detailed hearing, the bench fixed it for further hearing in the third week of March this year.