‘Reservation not a fundamental right’: SC dissolves pleas seeking OBC quota implementation in Tamil Nadu medical courses

New Delhi: While hearing a clutch of petitions asking for quota for OBC candidates in Tamil Nadu’s medical colleges, the Supreme Court on Thursday observed that right to reservation is not a fundamental right, as it refused to admit a batch of petitions.

The petitions were seeking the implementation of 50% reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) for state-surrendered seats in the all-India quota for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses in Tamil Nadu.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao and comprising of Krishna Murari and S Ravindra Bhat categorically stated that right to reservation can’t be claimed as a fundamental right, and hence not giving quota benefits cannot be construed as a violation of so.

“We appreciate the concern of all the political parties for the welfare of backward classes. But reservation is not a fundamental right,” Justice Rao told the lawyers appearing for various parties including the AIADMK, DMK, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, CPI and CPI(M).

All withdrew their petitions with a liberty to approach the Madras High Court.

In a ruling in February, the SC had held there is no fundamental right to claim reservation in public jobs and no court can order a state to provide for reservation to SC/STs.

The bench observed verbally that no case was made out for the petitioners to approach the top court directly under Article 32 — a remedy available under the Indian Constitution if there is violation of a fundamental right.


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