The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by a group of aspiring medical students, challenging the constitutional validity of a new amendment to the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, which allows 12 per cent reservation for the Maratha community in this year’s admissions to MBBS courses.
A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Gautam Patel said they were dismissing the petitions for reasons which will be recorded separately.
The petition, filed through Pan India Legal earlier this week by four undergraduate medical students, challenged the constitutional validity of the amendment to the SEBC Act, notified on June 25, by which reservation will be applied to undergraduate medical and dental courses for the academic year 2019-20 with retrospective effect.
In the petition, the students stated that the new amendment takes away fundamental rights and prohibits candidates from approaching the judiciary for any redressal against the medical admission process.
In May, the Nagpur bench of the High Court had held that the earlier 16 per cent reservation granted to the Maratha community will not apply to postgraduate medical admissions this year. The decision was later upheld by the Supreme Court.
Following this, on May 20, Governor C Vidyasagar Rao promulgated an ordinance approving 16 per cent reservation for the Maratha community in various government jobs and educational institutions. This had a retrospective effect on medical admissions. The ordinance was further made into an act and notified on June 25.
During Thursday’s hearing, senior counsel V A Thorat for the state government opposed the student petition and argued that the dispute over allowing reservation is for the current year. He said the act, however, will be applied in the future.
The apex court is likely to hear a special leave petition on Friday against the order of the Bombay High Court upholding the Maharashtra State Reservation for seats for admission in educational institutions and for appointments in the public services and posts under the SEBC Act.