Review AIIMS quota order,Centre tells Supreme Court

Asserting that there was “no constitutional prohibition” for the Centre to make reservation policies,the government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court,seeking a review of its verdict against reservation in appointment of faculty in specialty and super-specialty courses in engineering and medical colleges,including those at AIIMS

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published:August 15, 2013 5:30 am

Asserting that there was “no constitutional prohibition” for the Centre to make reservation policies,the government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court,seeking a review of its verdict against reservation in appointment of faculty in specialty and super-specialty courses in engineering and medical colleges,including those at AIIMS.

The review petition was filed on a day the government said in the Lok Sabha that it will consider bringing a constitutional amendment in the current session of Parliament to nullify the apex court verdict.

By its July 18 verdict,a five-judge Constitutional bench led by then Chief Justice Altamas Kabir had endorsed the views expressed in 1992 by a nine-judge Constitutional bench in the Indra Sawhney case,popularly known as the Mandal case,and said there had to be certain cases where merit alone would count. The verdict emphasised that “the very concept of reservation implies mediocrity”.

Challenging the court’s views,the Centre claimed the judgment went against the mandate of the Mandal judgment,which did not prohibit reservation of posts in any particular service or posts or hierarchy and left it to the government to formulate its policy.

It also questioned how the SC could rely on “stray” observations against reservation in the Mandal case. “It is not a decision of the court and it is not a direction of the court,” said the government,adding it could not be considered as binding on the five-judge bench in this case.

Borrowing from the Mandal judgment,the Centre argued “it could not be said that reservations are anti-meritarian”,and that the five-judge bench judgment was not in conformity with the nine-judge Bench verdict in the Mandal case.

It added that social justice could be achieved only when a large number of reserved category candidates were brought into educational institutions and services. “If they are not brought into position in large numbers and are only of small group,the reference to them as inferior would continue. When a large number of people get into the field,this practice of attributing stigma of inferiority will eventually vanish and fulfill the objective of the Preamble as to equality of ‘status’,” contended the government.

It also complained that although the arguments were advanced by its lawyer for two days,the verdict merely stated that the Centre has adopted the arguments of AIIMS. The government further said the court simply said that it was not advisable to have reservation in certain positions but did not categorically hold whether reservation policy will be applicable to appointments to the entry level faculty post of assistant professor and to super specialty posts in AIIMS or not. It also said that the court did not decide the validity or otherwise of two AIIMS resolutions,providing for reservation for SC/ST and OBC candidates.

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