10 pc quota for poor: SC advances hearing on Gujarat plea
New Delhi : The Supreme Court today agreed to advance the date of hearing on Gujarat’s plea challenging quashing of its ordinance to provide 10 per cent quota to economically backward among unreserved category on the ground that counseling for MBBS admission would end soon.
Gujarat government mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur and urged preponement of hearing on its appeal, saying the fate of poor students of unreserved category needed to be decided so that they know whether they can avail the benefits of reservation or not.
Moreover, counselling for admissions in MBBS course was scheduled to end on September 30 and the appeal is listed for hearing on September 19, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, said.
“Let it be listed on September 9,” the bench, also comprising Justice A M Khanwilkar, said.
The apex court had on August 29 extended by two more weeks the interim stay on a Gujarat High Court decision quashing a state government ordinance providing 10 per cent quota for economically backward among the unreserved category, including the agitating Patel community.
The bench had then said that there would be no admission till further orders.
While quashing the ordinance, the high court had stayed operation of its order by two weeks on the request of state government to enable filing of an appeal in the apex court.
Terming the May 1 ordinance as “inappropriate and unconstitutional”, the high court had rejected the state’s argument that it was a classification under the general category and not the reserved category and held that it will breach the 50 per cent quota cap set by the Supreme Court.
The court had observed that 10 per cent reservation for poor among the unreserved category took the total quota beyond 50 per cent, which was not permitted as per the apex court’s earlier decision.
The high court had also said the government took the decision without any study or scientific data.
Petitioners Dayaram Verma, Ravjibhai Manani, Dulari Basarge and Gujarat Parents’ Association had separately challenged the ordinance declaring reservation of 10 per cent seats to candidates belonging to the unreserved category with family income cap of Rs 6 lakh annually in government jobs and educational institutions.
Their petitions were heard together. The state government had said the quota was actually “a further classification in the general, open, unreserved category”.
The state government, in its affidavit, had maintained that the ordinance did not violate the provisions of the Constitution, nor did it go against the apex court orders.