Quota in medical, dental PG courses: SC rejects plea of Jats

RSTV Bureau

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea of Jat students seeking benefits of reservation under Other Backward Class (OBC) in the ongoing process of admission in post-graduate (PG) medical and dental courses.

The apex court, which on March 17 had set aside the erstwhile UPA government’s notification to include Jats in the central list of OBCs to accord quota benefits to them, said the issue has already been decided and there was no “vested” right in favour of Jat students.

“There is no vested right in favour of the applicants under the notification in question and the right have been subject to the result of the writ petition which had been decided by the impugned order of this court dated March 17, 2015,” a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman said, adding, “no relief can be granted”.

Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for some Jat students, said at the time of all-India counselling for admission in PG courses, Jats were in the OBC list as the judgement of this court had not come then. And now, when state level counselling is going on, the students of the community fall under the general category.

The students, who did not opt for all-India counselling for better choice of colleges in the subsequent state-level counselling, are “neither here nor there”, he said, adding that these innocent students have been caught in this.

The bench said it had been made clear that such admissions would be subject to the outcome of the petition, which has been decided by it.

Earlier, while setting aside the March 4, 2014 notification on the matter, the court had said that earlier “possible wrong inclusions” cannot be the basis of further inclusion and reservation should be given only to the “most distressed”.

Setting aside the inclusion of Jats in the central OBCs list, the bench had in its March 17 verdict said, “the perception of a self-proclaimed socially backward class of citizens or even the perception of the ‘advanced classes’ as to the social status of the ‘less fortunates’ cannot continue to be a constitutionally permissible yardstick for determination of backwardness, both in the context of Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution.

“Neither can any longer backwardness be a matter of determination on the basis of mathematical formulae evolved by taking into account social, economic and educational indicators. Determination of backwardness must also cease to be relative; possible wrong inclusions cannot be the basis for further inclusions but the gates would be opened only to permit entry of the most distressed.

“Any other inclusion would be a serious abdication of the constitutional duty of the State. Judged by the aforesaid standards, we must hold that inclusion of the politically organised classes (such as Jats) in the list of backward classes mainly, if not solely, on the basis that on same parameters other groups who have fared better have been so included cannot be affirmed.”

The court had referred to various constitutional schemes and the report of National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) and said the finding of the OBC panel that Jats do not deserve to be given quota benefits was “supported by good and acceptable reasons”.