New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the constitutional validity of providing 27 per cent reservation to Other Backward Caste candidates in NEET AIQ (All India Quota) seats.
It also noted that the reservation was not at odd with merit instead it furthers the distributive consequences of social justice.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud pronounced the judgement after hearing a petition challenging the reservation for OBC and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) introduced by the central government in the AIQ seats of state governments medical institutions.
“Merit should be socially contextualised. Reservation is not at odds with merit but furthers the distributive consequences (impact) of social justice,” the apex court said in its judgement.
The bench, also comprising Justice AS Bopanna, held that the Pradeep Jain verdict in 1984 cannot be read to mean no reservation in AIQ seats.
“Articles 15(4) and 15(5) are facets of substantive equality. Competitive examinations do not reflect economic social advantage which is accrued to some classes,” the top court said.
The apex court on January 7, passed an order upholding the reservation of 27 per cent for OBCs in AIQ seats. However, on that day, the court had not given detailed reasons for the order.
In its order it said the scheme of AIQ was devised to allot seats in state-run medical institutions.
“The Centre was not required to seek permission of this court before granting reservation in AIQ seats and thus their decision was correct. We hold that reservations for OBC in AIQ for undergraduate and post graduate courses is constitutionally valid,” the Supreme Court said.
The validity of criteria for determining EWS quota will be heard at length by the apex court in March.