The Supreme Court on Friday set aside a Madras High Court order that the Centre must seek the top court’s approval before implementing a 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS).
The apex court said the high court cannot transgress its jurisdiction while hearing a contempt petition, it said.
It, however, made clear that it is not quashing the entire high court order passed on August 25 or stating any opinion on its merit but just setting aside the observations made with regard to the top court’s approval on the EWS quota.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and B V Nagarathna said the high court should not have expressed such an opinion while hearing a contempt petition filed by the ruling DMK party in Tamil Nadu.
The top court disposed of the Centre’s appeal against the Madras High Court order. The bench said that it would hear on October 7, a batch of pleas challenging the Centre’s July 29 notification providing 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 per cent for EWS category in NEET admissions for medical courses.
The top court directed Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, appearing for the Centre to file a joint counter-affidavit to the batch of petitions by October 6 and said it will be hearing the matter on October 7. On July 29, the Centre had decided to provide 27 per cent reservation for OBCs and 10 per cent reservation for EWS in the All India Quota scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical/dental courses.
However, with regard to 10 per cent reservation for EWS, the high court had observed: “The additional reservation provided for economically weaker sections in the notification of July 29, 2021, cannot be permitted, except with the approval of the Supreme Court in such regard.”
Aggrieved by this, the Centre rushed to the top court on September 3 against the high court’s observation.
On the issue of a 10 per cent quota for EWS category students, the high court had said that the reservation cannot exceed more than 50 per cent as the Supreme Court judgement in the Indra Sawhney case had stated that the quota cannot exceed the cap unless there are exceptional circumstances.