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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Education - All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) - allegations that the ALLMS is not strictly adhering to the reservation policy - Apex court dismissed the writ as there is no merits in allegations = Samta Aandolan Samiti & Anr. …..Petitioners Vs. Union of India & Ors. …..Respondents = Published in/Cited in / Reported in judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41069

     Education - All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) - allegations that the ALLMS is not strictly adhering to the reservation policy  - Apex court  dismissed the writ as there is no merits in allegations = 

The petitioners have approached  this  Court  by  way  of  filing  the
present Writ Petition filed under Article 32 of the  Constitution  of  India
with the grievance that while making admissions  in  the  MBBS  course,  the
respondent All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is  not  strictly
adhering to the reservation policy and have questioned the manner  in  which
seats are allotted to the candidates belonging  to  reserved  category.   
As
per them, the AIIMS have far exceeded the quota prescribed for the  reserved
category candidates which has resulted in more than  50  %  reservations  of
the seats, which is contrary to the law laid down by this Court.  The  stand
of the AIIMS, on the other hand, is that there is no violation  of  the  law
laid down by this Court in this behalf and the methodology  adopted  by  the
AIIMS for admission in MBBS course is perfectly valid  and  justified.       =    

  whether a  reserved  category  candidate
 who is entitled to be selected for admission in  open  competition  on  the
 basis of his/her own merit should be counted against the  quota  meant  for
 the reserved category or should he be treated as a general  candidate.  
The
 Court  reached the conclusion that when  a  candidate  is  admitted  to  an
 educational institution on his own merit, then such admission is not to  be
 counted against the  quota  reserved  for  Schedule  Castes  or  any  other
 reserved category.  
It was so held in the following words:

           “……In view of the legal position enunciated by this Court in the
           aforesaid cases the conclusion is irresistible  that  
a  student
           who is entitled to be admitted on  the  basis  of  merit  though
           belonging to a reserved category  cannot  be  considered  to  be
           admitted against sets reserved for reserved category. But at the
           same time the provisions should be so made that it will not work
           out to the disadvantage of such candidate  and  he  may  not  be
           placed at a more disadvantageous position than  the  other  less
           meritorious  reserved   category   candidates.   
The   aforesaid
           objective can be achieved if after finding  out  the  candidates
           from amongst the reserved category who would otherwise  come  in
           the open merit list and then asking their option  for  admission
           into the different colleges which have been  kept  reserved  for
           reserved category and thereafter the cases of  less  meritorious
           reserved category candidates should be considered  and  they  be
           allotted  seats  in  whichever  colleges  the  seats  should  be
           available. 
In other words, while a reserved  category  candidate
           entitled to admission on the basis of his merit  will  have  the
           option of taking admission in the  colleges  where  a  specified
           number of seats have been kept reserved  for  reserved  category
           but while computing the percentage of  reservation  he  will  be
           deemed to have been admitted as an open category  candidate  and
           not as a reserved category candidate.”


24.  Since,  we  are  concerned  with  the  admission  to  medical  course,
 aforesaid judgment squarely applies to the present case.      Thus we  find
 that neither upper limit of 50% reservation is breached, nor any rights  of
 the petitioners are violative or the action of the respondents have been to
 their prejudice in any manner. Thus, we  do  not  find  any  merit  in  the
 present petition, which is accordingly dismissed.  No costs.                            

                [REPORTABLE]

                 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                 CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

                 WRIT PETITION (CIVIL)  No. 677 OF 2013

Samta Aandolan Samiti & Anr.
 …..Petitioners

                             Vs.

Union of India & Ors.
…..Respondents



                               J U D G M E N T



A.K.SIKRI,J.

1.    The petitioners have approached  this  Court  by  way  of  filing  the
present Writ Petition filed under Article 32 of the  Constitution  of  India
with the grievance that while making admissions  in  the  MBBS  course,  the
respondent All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is  not  strictly
adhering to the reservation policy and have questioned the manner  in  which
seats are allotted to the candidates belonging  to  reserved  category.   As
per them, the AIIMS have far exceeded the quota prescribed for the  reserved
category candidates which has resulted in more than  50  %  reservations  of
the seats, which is contrary to the law laid down by this Court.  The  stand
of the AIIMS, on the other hand, is that there is no violation  of  the  law
laid down by this Court in this behalf and the methodology  adopted  by  the
AIIMS for admission in MBBS course is perfectly valid  and  justified.   The
controversy has arisen in the following backdrop:

2.    “The All India  Institute  of  Medical  Sciences  (AIIMS),  New  Delhi
issued Prospectus for admission in the MBBS  course  starting  from  August,
2013 along with admission in  Six  New  AIIMS  at  Bhopal,  Patna,  Jodhpur,
Rishikesh,Raipur and Bhubaneswar with an intake of 100 students in each  new
AIIMS.  The reservation policy was notified to be 7.5.% ST, 15% SC, 27%  OBC
and Indian Nationals, 3% reservation for Orthopedic  physically  handicapped
to be provided on horizontal basis. Para 4.2  of  the  prospectus  prescribe
the procedure for selection into the MBBS course hereunder:

                  “4.2 PROCEDURE OF SELECTION:

                   Based  on  the  result  of   the   Competitive   Entrance
           examination, merit lists will be prepared as below:

                  (a) Common Merit List: Subject to the Govt. of Indi, DOPT.
           O.M.No.36011/1/98.Estt.(Res),  dated  1st  July   1998.   It   is
           clarified that only such SC/ST/OBC candidates who are selected on
           the same standard as applied to general candidates shall  not  be
           adjusted against reserved  vacancies.  In  other  words,  when  a
           relaxed standard is applied in selecting an SC/ST/OBS candidates,
           for  example  in  the   age-limit,   experience,   qualification,
           permitted number of chances in written examination, extended zone
           of  consideration  larger  than  what  is  provided  for  General
           Category candidates etc.  the  SC/ST/OBS  candidates  are  to  be
           counted against reserved  vacancies.  Such  candidates  would  be
           deemed as unavailable for consideration  against  the  unreserved
           vacancies. Therefore the reserved candidate will be considered on
           General Seat only if no relaxation of the eligibility level (i.e.
           % of marks) and at cut  off  level  of  marks  in  MBBS  entrance
           examination is given.

                  (b) Scheduled Caste candidates list

                  (c) Scheduled Tribe candidates list

                  (d) Other Backward Classes candidates list”

3.    Thirty seven (37) candidates from the common merit list,  eleven  (11)
candidates from the merit list of Scheduled  Caste  category  and  five  (5)
candidates from  the  merit  list  of  Scheduled  Tribe  and  19  (nineteen)
candidates from the merit list of Other Backward Classes  category  will  be
admitted including 3% reservation for orthopaedic physically handicapped  on
horizontal basis in the seats available. The reservation will be 7 ½  %  ST,
15% SC and 27% for OBC category. In case eleven  (11)  candidates  from  the
Scheduled Caste or five (5) candidates from the Scheduled  Tribe  categories
and nineteen (19) candidates belonging to OBC are not  available,  then  the
number of candidates selected on the basis of merit for general seats  shall
be  correspondingly  increased  so  that  the  total  number  of  candidates
selected for the  MBBS  course  remains  seventy  two  (72).  The  remaining
candidates will be kept on the waiting list in  order  of  merit.  Inter  se
merit of two or more candidates in the same category obtaining  equal  marks
in the competitive entrance examination  will  be  determined  in  order  of
preference as under:

                  (a) Candidates obtaining higher marks in  Biology  in  the
          entrance examination.

                  (b) Candidates obtaining higher marks in Chemistry in  the
          entrance examination.

                  (c) Candidates obtaining higher marks in Physics   in  the
          entrance examination.

                  (d) Candidates older in age to be preferred.

                  A similar procedure for selection will apply for  the  six
          new AIIMS where the number will be calculated for a total  of  100
          admissions for each.”

4.    Petitioner No.2  being  eligible  in  all  respects  under  unreserved
category had submitted his application form  and  was  allotted  application
form number-1021016668. He was issued the Admit  Card  for  AIIMS-MBBS  2013
Entrance Examination. Petitioner No.2 appeared in the  competitive  entrance
examination held on 1.6.2013 and secured 1066 over all  rank.  A  counseling
letter was issued for counseling at Delhi AIIMS on 10-12 July 2013  and  the
Petitioner No.1 was called for counseling scheduled to be held on 10th  July
2013.

      That as per the counseling letter the method of counseling is:

            4. Method of counseling:  The following process will be  adapted
           for counseling for all 7AIIMS Institutes.

                  i. In the counseling process, the seats to  be  filled  by
           open (UR) competition should be  filled  up  first,  wherein  the
           candidates should be called for counseling based on  merit  alone
           irrespective of whether they belong to SC,ST or OBC.

                  ii. Next, reservation categories like SC/ST/OBC candidates
           will be counseled to fill up the  seats  earmarked  for  them  in
           their respective categories. During this process, if a  candidate
           belonging  to  SC/ST/OBC  who  had  taken  admission  under  open
           competition, opts for a better institution of his/her choice  for
           which  he  or  she  would  be  eligible  as  per  the  rules   of
           reservation, the  seat  vacated  by  him  or  her  in  open  (UR)
           competition shall be  filled  with  a  candidate  from  the  same
           reservation category only, in order of merit.

                  Note: All reserved category candidates who qualify in  the
           open (general) merit list (i.e. 4  times  of  the  open  category
           seats) shall necessarily attend the counseling for open  category
           seats and shall exercise  his/her  option  and  then  if,  he/she
           desires to opt for a different institution in his/her  respective
           reserved category, he/she may attend  the  counseling  meant  for
           that reserved category.

                  Provided:

                  a. If he/she is not present or if  present,  fails  to  or
           refused to take a seat in open  category,  he/she  shall  not  be
           allowed for attending the counseling for reserved seats.

                  b.He/she cannot opt for institution under reservation,  if
           he/she had already opted the same institution in open category.

                  Methods of counseling:  In  the  counseling  process,  the
           seats to be filled by open (UR) competition should be  filled  up
           first, wherein the candidates should  be  called  for  counseling
           strictly by merit alone till the last unreserved seat is  filled,
           irrespective  of  whether  they  belong  to  SC,ST  or  OBC.  The
           counseling for reserved  category  seat  (  which  will  also  be
           strictly by merit) should commence only after filling up  of  all
           the unreserved seats  (i.e.  open  category  seats).  Meritorious
           reserved candidate belonging to SC/ST/OBC category, who has taken
           unreserved seat in any institution after attending the open merit
           counseling, if exercises  his/her  option  to  take  a  different
           institute in  the  reserved  category  counseling,  the  seat  so
           vacated by this candidate should be available to next meritorious
           candidate belonging to that particular reserved category only. In
           other word if  SC/ST/OBC  candidate  got  any  institution  under
           unreserved category and  if  he/she  opts  different  institution
           under reserved category of his/her choice the  resultant  vacated
           unreserved seat shall be allotted to same category  candidate  in
           order of merit i.e. the  vacated  seat  of  meritorious  reserved
           category candidate should  be  immediately  added  to  the  seats
           available under the reserved category in the institute he/she had
           opted during counseling for UR seat.

                  Note: For example – if a SC meritorious candidate who  has
           initially opted a X institution from  open  category,  vacates  a
           seat in open category because he wants to take Y institution from
           reserved category during the counseling in reserved category, the
           same seat (i.e. UR seat of  X  institute)  which  is  vacated  by
           him/her shall be made available to the next SC candidate in order
           of merit.”

5.    Petitioner No.2 appeared in the counseling (1st counseling)  conducted
by  the  respondents.   The  petitioners  aver  that  the  respondents   had
conducted the  counseling  in  strict  adherence  of  the  procedure  quoted
hereinabove. However, the respondents forced reserve  candidates  to  obtain
the unreserved (UR) seats by note (4.2.a)  in  counseling  call  letter.  In
this way the respondents deliberately tried to convert UR seats  to  reserve
category seat because of note 4.2. Otherwise the candidates would have  been
provided freedom to opt seats under  UR seats or  category  seats  of  their
choice in different AIIMS. It is averred that the  common  practice  in  the
counseling of NEET (National Eligibility  cum  Entrance  Test),  AIPMT  (All
India Pre Medical Test) and states counseling for  admission  in  Government
Medical Colleges, is parallel counseling for all categories on  their  merit
cum choice basis in which unreserved seats are  filled  first  as  per  rule
framed by this Court in Indira Sawhney case.

6.    It is stated that the petitioner No.2 has secured  rank  1066  in  the
competitive entrance examination and counseling for unreserved seats on  1st
day of counseling could reach only up to 663 ranks only.  In the  counseling
done for unreserved seats approx. around 140  reserve  categories  candidate
found place on general seats.

7.    On the second day of counseling, which is for other  backward  classes
(OBC) category, the counseling started from rank 1st  for  OBC  and  approx.
around  120  OBC  candidates,  who  has  secured  their  merit  position  in
unreserved category opted for better  colleges  from  their  counterpart  in
unreserved category by enjoying their  reserve  status  on  OBC  seats.   In
other words, the seats/position occupied by  meritorious  reserved  category
candidates was vacated.  All  vacated  seats  and  181  reserve  seats  were
filled on 11 July by comparative low rank  OBC  candidate.  By  adding  this
around 45 percent of candidates from OBC took the benefit of  Quota  instead
of 27 per cent.  The case sought to be set up is that by this  procedure  it
exceeds the limit given by the Constitution.

8.    This position is sought to be highlighted by the following  MBBS  seat
position in each AIIMS:

| Name of Institution|Total     |UR        |OBC       |SC        |ST        |
|                    |Seats     |          |          |          |          |
|AIIMS, New Delhi    |72        |37        |19        |11        |5         |
|AIIMS,Bhopal        |100       |50        |27        |15        |8         |
|AIIMS,Bhubaneswar   |100       |50        |27        |15        |8         |
|AIIMS,Jodhpur       |100       |50        |27        |15        |8         |
|AIIMS, Patna        |100       |50        |27        |15        |8         |
|AIIMS, Raipur       |100       |50        |27        |15        |8         |
|AIIMS,Rishikesh     |100       |50        |27        |15        |8         |
|Total               |672       |337       |181       |101       |53        |


9.    It is stated that as against 181 seats meant  for  OBC  category,  270
seats have been  filled  from  amongst  the  candidates  belonging  to  this
category which is evidentially impermissible.  By the time this  matter  was
argued, as the third and final counseling had taken place and the  allotment
of the seats was done on the basis of that counseling.   The  final  picture
which  emerged,   is  that  the  last  unreserved  candidates  who   secured
admission in reserved category had rank of 1476.  There were  79  candidates
in OBC category who had higher rank than 1476 and were,  thus,  adjusted  as
meritorious reserved candidates (MRC) candidates in  unreserved  candidates.
Likewise, this SC candidate with rank above 1476 could  make  their  way  to
unreserved list.

10.   On  the  aforesaid  basis,  following  prayer  is  made  in  the  Writ
Petition:

            (a)  Pass  writ,  order  or  direction  whereby  respondents  be
           directed to give  admission  to  petitioner  No.1  in  unreserved
           category in MBBS course 2013,

            (b) Pass  writ,  order  or  direction  whereby  directions  No.4
           (reproduced  at para No.8 of the  writ  petition)  in  counseling
           letter prescribing procedure for counseling be  quashed  and  set
           aside.

            (c)Pass writ order or direction whereby respondents be  directed
           to make strict compliance of the Hon’ble Supreme  Court  judgment
           passed in the case of Union of India vs. Ramesh Ram (2010) 7  SCC
           234).

             (d)  Pass  writ  order  or  direction  whereby  respondents  be
           restrained to permit the reserve category  candidates  to  occupy
           the seats in unreserved category vacated by meritorious  category
           candidates, who have  opted/chosen  their  reserve  category  for
           seeking admission in MBBS course 2013.

            (e) Pass writ order or direction whereby respondents be directed
           to undertake the admission exercise for MBBS course 2013 strictly
           in terms of prayer sought in Paragraph (c).

            (f) Pass such other or further order (s) as this  Hon’ble  Court
           may deem fit in the facts and circumstances of the case.”




11.   After issuance of the show cause notice, respondents appeared.   Since
main contesting party is the AIIMS, counsel affidavit on  its  behalf  filed
by Dr.A.B.Dey, Dean, (Research) who had acted as Convener of the  counseling
in the aforesaid admission process.  It is stated by him  in  his  affidavit
that the process of counseling was discussed and finalized  in  the  meeting
held on 26.5.2013 with all Directors, AIIMS,  senior  officials  and  senior
faculties.  The minutes of the meeting, inter-alia, mentioned that :

            “…it was mandatory for all candidates to be  present  in  person
           for counseling on the days as  given  in  the  call  letter.   No
           request for authorized representative to be present on behalf  of
           candidate would be entertained. If a candidate failed to come for
           counseling in person, she/she would be marked absent and  her/his
           candidature would stand cancelled…”



12.   It is also stated in the counter affidavit that  in  this  meeting  it
was decided to constitute a Counseling Committee to undertake  three  counts
of counseling for MBBS and  two  rounds  of  counseling  for  B.Sc.  (Hons.)
Nursing for 7 AIIMS.  For this reason, in the counseling  letter,  attention
of the candidates was drawn to  the  provision  in  the  prospectus  whereby
candidates were asked to give choice about different AIIMS where they  would
like to be admitted.  They were also informed that allocation of seats  will
be  done  on  merit-cum-choice.   In  the  counseling   letter,   therefore,
candidates were informed that  they  would  exercise  their  choice  of  the
particular Institute when called during the counseling as per  the  rank  in
respective category. Notwithstanding  whatsoever  choices  he/she  had  made
while filling form,   choice  thus  made  was  to  be  final  and  no  claim
whatsoever on the basis  of  choices  made  in  admission  form  was  to  be
entertained.  This was widely  circulated  through  newspaper  advertisement
and posted on AIIMS website as well, well in advance.  It  is  pleaded  that
this method of counseling adopted by AIIMS was in tune with the judgment  of
this Court in Ritesh R.Sah vs. Dr. Y.L. Yamul & Ors. (1996) 3 SCC 253.   The
exact nature of the counseling method which was adopted is stated below :

            1.In the counseling process, the seats  to  be  filled  by  open
           (UR)  competition  should  be  filled  up  first,   wherein   the
           candidates should be called for counseling based on  merit  alone
           irrespective of whether they belong to SC,ST or OBC.

            2. Next, reservation categories like SC/ST/OBC  candidates  will
           be counseled to fill up the seats earmarked  for  them  in  their
           respective  categories.  During  this  process,  if  a  candidate
           belonging  to  SC/ST/OBC  who  had  taken  admission  under  open
           competition, opts for a better institution of his/her choice  for
           which  he  or  she  would  be  eligible  as  per  the  rules   of
           reservation, the  seat  vacated  by  him  or  her  in  open  (UR)
           competition shall be  filled  with  a  candidate  from  the  same
           reservation category only, in order of merit.

            Note: All reserved category candidates who qualify in  the  open
           (general) merit list (i.e. 4 times of the  open  category  seats)
           shall necessarily attend the counseling for open  category  seats
           and shall exercise his/her option and then if, he/she desires  to
           opt for a different institution in  his/her  respective  reserved
           category,  he/she  may  attend  the  counseling  meant  for  that
           reserved category.

      Provided

      a.If he/she is not present or if present, fails to or refuses to  take
           a seat  in  open  category,  he/she  shall  not  be  allowed  for
           attending the counseling for reserved seats.

      b. He/she cannot opt for institution under reservation, if he/she  had
           already opted the same institution in open category.

      Methods of counseling

      In the counseling process,  the  seats  to  be  filled  by  open  (UR)
           competition should be filled up  first,  wherein  the  candidates
           should be called for counseling strictly by merit alone till  the
           last unreserved seat is  filled,  irrespective  of  whether  they
           belong to SC,ST or OBC.

      The  counseling  for  reserved  category  seat  (which  will  also  be
           strictly by merit) should commence only after filling up  of  all
           the unreserved seats  (i.e.  open  category  seats).  Meritorious
           reserved candidate  belonging  to  SC/ST/OBC  category,  who  has
           taken unreserved seat in any institution after attending the open
           merit  counseling,  if  exercises  his/her  option  to   take   a
           different institute in the reserved category counseling, the seat
           so  vacated  by  this  candidate  should  be  available  to  next
           meritorious  candidate  belonging  to  that  particular  reserved
           category only.  In other word  if  SC/ST/OBC  candidate  got  any
           institution  under  unreserved  category  and  if   he/she   opts
           different institution under reserved category of  his/her  choice
           the resultant vacated unreserved seat shall be allotted  to  same
           category candidate in order of merit, i.e. the  vacated  seat  of
           meritorious reserved category  candidate  should  be  immediately
           added to the seats available under that reserved category in  the
           institute he/she had opted during counseling for UR seat.

      Note: For example –  if a SC meritorious candidate who  has  initially
           opted a X institution from open category, vacates a seat in  open
           category because he wants to take  Y  institution  from  reserved
           category during his counseling in  reserved  category,  the  same
           seat (i.e. UR seat of X institute) which is  vacated  by  him/her
           shall be made available to the next  SC  candidate  in  order  of
           merit.”



13.   It is pleaded that with the adoption  of  the  aforesaid  method,  the
authorities  found  out  the  candidates  among  reserved   candidates   who
qualified on their own merit and are on the open merit list and then  asking
their option if they want to choose other Institute of  their  choice  which
is present in their reserved category and not in unreserved category.   This
method gives them option to change  Institute  in  their  better  choice  in
reserved category and once that is  done  such  candidates  are  given  that
reserved seats but while computing the percentage of  reservation  they  are
not counted against reservation pool.  To achieve that objective,  the  seat
which they vacated is offered to the same reserved category below in  merit.
 It is thus pleaded that 50% of the ceiling is never broken in  the  present
counseling and thus persons belonging to reserved category, who are able  to
come on  their  own  merit  while  competing  with  the  general  candidates
category can be put in the list of general/unreserved category, as  held  by
this Court in the case of Indira Swhney vs. Union of India (1992)  Suppl.  3
SCC 212.

14.     We have already quoted the general proposition of law, in so far  as
extend of reservation is concerned, as laid down in Indira Sawhney  (supra).
 Mr. Lahoti has placed reliance on paragraphs  804,  807  and  809  of  this
judgment  whereas learned counsel for the respondent led emphasis  on  paras
811 and 813.  In the case  of  Indira  Sawhney  (supra)  the  principle  was
stated in the following terms: We quote hereunder all these paragraphs:

             PART-V
           (QUESTION NOS. 6. 7 AND 8)

           Question 6: To what extent can the reservation be made?

           (a) Whether the 50% rule enunciated in Balaji a binding  rule  or
           only a rule of caution or rule of prudence?

           (b) Whether the 50% rule, if any,  is  confined  to  reservations
           made under Clause (4) of Article 16 or whether it  takes  in  all
           types of reservations that can be provided under Article 16?

           (c) Further while applying 50% rule,  if  any,  whether  an  year
           should be taken as a unit or whether the total  strength  of  the
           cadre should looked to?

           In Balaji, a  Constitution  Bench  of  this  Court  rejected  the
           argument that in the absence of a limitation contained in Article
           15(4), no limitation can be prescribed by the court on the extent
           of reservation. It observed that a provision under Article  15(4)
           being a "special provision" must be within reasonable limits.  It
           may be  appropriate  to  quote  the  relevant  holding  from  the
           judgment.

           When Article 15(4)  refers  to  the  special  provision  for  the
           advancement of certain classes or scheduled castes  or  scheduled
           tribes, it must not  be  ignored  that  the  provision  which  is
           authorised to be made  is  a  special  provision;  it  is  not  a
           provision which is exhaustive in character, so  that  in  looking
           after the advancement  of  those  classes,  the  State  would  be
           justified in ignoring altogether the advancement of the  rest  of
           the society. It is because the interests of the society at  large
           would be served  by  promoting  the  advancement  of  the  weaker
           elements in the society that  Article  15(4)  authorises  special
           provision to be made. But if a provision which is in  the  nature
           of an exception completely excludes the rest of the society, that
           clearly is outside the scope  of  Article  15(4)  the  Parliament
           intended to provide that where the advancement  of  the  Backward
           classes or the Scheduled Castes and  Tribes  was  concerned,  the
           fundamental rights of the citizens, constituting the rest of  the
           society were to  be  completely  and  absolutely  ignored  ...  A
           special provision contemplated by Article 16(4)  must  be  within
           reasonable limits. The interests of weaker  sections  of  society
           which are a first charge on the State and the center have  to  be
           adjusted with the interests of the  community  as  a  whole.  The
           adjustment of these competing claims is undoubtedly  a  difficult
           matter, but if under the guise of making a special  provision,  a
           State reserves practically all the seats  available  in  all  the
           colleges, that clearly would be subverting the object of  Article
           15(4). In this matter again, we are reluctant to  say  definitely
           what would be a proper provision to make. Speaking generally  and
           in a broad way a special provision should be less than  50%;  how
           much less than 50% would  depend  upon  the  relevant  prevailing
           circumstances in each case.

            In Devadasan this rule of 50% was  applied  to  a  case  arising
           under Article 16(4) and on that basis the carry-forward rule  was
           struck  down.  In  Thomas,  however,  the  correctness  of   this
           principle was seriously questioned, Fazal Ali, J. observed:

           This means that the reservation should be within the  permissible
           limits and should not be a cloak to fill all the posts  belonging
           to a particular class of citizens and thus violate Article  16(1)
           of the Constitution indirectly. At the same time  Clause  (4)  of
           Article 16 does not fix any limit on the power of the  Government
           to make reservation. Since Clause (4) is a part of Article 16  of
           the Constitution it is manifest that the State cannot be  allowed
           to indulge in excessive reservation so as to  defeat  the  policy
           contained in Article 16(1).  As  to  what  would  be  a  suitable
           reservation within permissible limits will depend upon the  facts
           and circumstances of each case and no hard and fast rule  can  be
           laid down, nor can this  matter  be  reduced  to  a  mathematical
           formula so as to be adhered to in all  cases.  Decided  cases  of
           this Court have  no  doubt  laid  down  that  the  percentage  of
           reservation should not exceed 50%. As  I  read  the  authorities,
           this is however, a rule of  caution  and  does  not  exhaust  all
           cattgories. Suppose for instance a Stats has a  large  number  of
           backward class of citizens which constitute 80% of the population
           and the Government, in order to give them proper  representation,
           reserves 80% of the jobs  for  them  can  it  be  said  that  the
           percentage of reservation is bad  and  violates  the  permissible
           limits of Clause (4) of Article 16? The answer  must  necessarily
           be in the negative. The dominant object to this provision  is  to
           take steps to make inadequate representation adequate.

           Krishna Iyer, J. agreed with the view taken by Fazal Ali,  J.  in
           the following words:

           I agree with my learned brother Fazal Ali, J. in  the  view  that
           the arithmetical limit of 50% in any one year set by some earlier
           rulings cannot perhaps be pressed too far. Overall representation
           in a department does not depend on recruitment  in  a  particular
           year, but the total, strength  of  a  cadre.  I  agree  with  his
           construction of Article 16(4)  and  his  view  about  the  'carry
           forward' rule.

           823. Mathew, J. did not specifically deal with  this  aspect  but
           from the principles of 'proportional equality' and  'equality  of
           results' espoused by the learned Judge, it is argued that he  did
           not accept the 50% rule. Bag, J. also did not refer to this  rule
           but the following sentence occurs in his judgment at page 962 and
           963:

           If a reservation of posts under Article 16(4)  for  employees  of
           backward classes could include  complete  reservation  of  higher
           posts to which they could be promoted, about which there could be
           no doubt now, I fail to see why it cannot be  partial  or  for  a
           part of the  duration  of  service  and  hedged  round  with  the
           condition that a temporary promotion would operate as a  complete
           and confirmed promotion only if the temporary promotee  satisfies
           some tests within a given time.

           Ray, C.J. did not dispute the correctness of the 50% rule but  at
           the same time he pointed  out  that  this  percentage  should  be
           applied to the entire service as a whole.

           807. We must, however,  point  out  that  Clause  (4)  speaks  of
           adequate representation  and  not  proportionate  representation.
           Adequate  representation  cannot   be   read   as   proportionate
           representation.  Principle  of  proportionate  representation  is
           accepted only in Articles 330 and 332  of  the  Constitution  and
           that  too  for  a  limited  period.  These  articles   speak   of
           reservation of seats in Lok Sabha and the State  legislatures  in
           favour of Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes proportionate  to
           their  population,  but  they  are  only  temporary  and  special
           provisions. It is therefore not possible to accept the theory  of
           proportionate representation though the proportion of  population
           of backward classes to the total population  would  certainly  be
           relevant. Just as every power must be  exercised  reasonably  and
           fairly, the power conferred by Clause (4) of  Article  16  should
           also be exercised in a fair manner and within  reasonable  limits
           -and what is more reasonable than to say that  reservation  under
           Clause (4) shall not exceed 50% of  the  appointments  or  posts,
           barring   certain   extraordinary   situations    as    explained
           hereinafter.  From  this  point  of  view,  the  27%  reservation
           provided by  the  impugned  Memorandums  in  favour  of  backward
           classes is well  within  the  reasonable  limits.  Together  with
           reservation in favour of Scheduled Tribes, it comes to a total of
           49.5%. In this connection, reference may be had to the Full Bench
           decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Narayan Rao v. State
           , striking down the enhancement of reservation from  25%  to  44%
           for O.B.Cs. The said enhancement had the  effect  of  taking  the
           total reservation under Article 16(4) to 65%.

            “809. From the above  discussion,  the  irresistible  conclusion
           that follows is that the reservations contemplated in clause  (4)
           of Article 16 should not exceed 50%.

            “…811… It is  well  to  remember  that  the  reservations  under
           Article 16 (4) do not operate like a communal reservation. It may
           well happen that some members belonging to, say Scheduled  Castes
           get selected in the open competition field on the basis of  their
           own merit; they will not be counted against  the  quota  reserved
           for Scheduled Castes; they will be treated  as  open  competition
           candidates.”

                  “813….It is however, made clear that the rule of 50% shall
           be applicable only to reservation proper; they shall  not  be   -
           indeed cannot be  –  applicable  to  exemptions,  concessions  or
           relaxations, if any provided to backward class of citizen’s under
           Article 16(4)…”



15.   There is no quarrel upto  this  stage.   It  is  now  well  entrenched
principle of law that those members belonging to reserved category  who  get
selected in the open competition on the basis of their own merit have  right
to be included in  the  general  list/unreserved  category  and  not  to  be
counted  against  the  quota  reserved  for  Scheduled  Caste.    This   was
recognized by the Constitutional Bench judgment  of  this  Court  in  Indira
Sawhney (supra) and has been followed in  series  of  judgments  thereafter.
Thus, when certain persons belonging to reserved category  get  selected  in
open competition on the basis of their merit,  they are not  to  be  counted
in the reserved category against the reserved category quota. It is open  to
the authorities to fill the posts meant  for  reserved  category  candidates
from amongst the persons in such categories after excluding those  who  have
found their place in general merit.  As a fortiori,  while  calculating  the
limit of 50% reservation, those candidates belonging  to  reserved  category
who have found their place on  the  basis  of  their  merit  competing  with
general candidates are not to be taken into consideration.  It is  also  not
in dispute that such OBC/SC candidates who have been  included  in   general
category have come in that category on their own merit  with  no  relaxation
of the eligibility level i.e. percentage of marks.  However,  the  objection
of Mr. Lahoti, learned counsel for the petitioner,  was  to  the  method  of
counseling which was adopted in the  present  case  as  that  has  come,  no
doubt, above to the persons in reserved categories.  He  submitted  that  as
per  para  4  of  the  counseling  letter  choice  was  given  to  SC/ST/OBC
candidates who had taken admission in the open competition,  to  opt  for  a
better Institution  of  their  choice  for  which  he/she  would  have  been
eligible as per the rules of  reservation.   This,  according  to  him,  was
impermissible as once a candidate in reserved category had  taken  admission
under the open competition, he could  not  have  been  given  a  choice  for
better Institution on the premise that he/she will be governed by  Rules  of
reservation.  For  this  reason,  he  took  strong  objection  to  the  note
appended to para 4 of the counseling letter as well which  facilitated  this
process.  He,  thus,  submitted  that  the  counseling  letter/circular  was
opposed to the provision made in the prospectus and  was  also  contrary  to
the judgment of this Court in Union of India vs. Ramesh Ram & Ors. (2010)  7
SCC 234.

16.   Learned counsel for the respondent,  on  the  other  hand,  maintained
that 50% quota had not been breached and what was done in fact was inter  se
adjustment among those who belong to reserved  class  i.e.  those  who  were
selected on their own merit and found their way into general category vis-a-
vis  those   who were admitted on the basis of reservation provided  in  the
respective reserved categories.   He  argued  that  this  was  necessary  as
otherwise those persons from reserved  category  who  was  more  meritorious
would  be  in  a  disadvantageous  position  vis-à-vis  those  who   secured
admission on the basis of relaxed standard under the  reserved  quota  meant
for them.  His submission was that this was approved by this  Court  in  the
case of Yoganand Vishwasrao Patil vs. State of  Maharashtra  (2005)  12  SCC
311.

17.   We have considered the submissions of counsel  of  both  the  parties.
At the outset, we would like to point out that in the present case,  we  are
dealing with the case of admission with medical  course,  and  the  position
which we are going to explain in the subsequent paragraphs  is  confined  to
cases  of  admissions  and  not  appointment  into  the  service  under  the
Government.  Further,  this  applies  only  to  MBBS  Course  and  not  Post
Graduate Courses.  Further, we are concerned  herein  admission  process  in
Seven AIIMS only and the position explained does not relate to  those  cases
where their admissions are in different colleges.

18.   With this clarification, we proceed to deal with the issue.

19.   It is stated at the cost of the  repetition  that  those  members  who
belong to reserved category but get selected in the open competition on  the
basis  of  their  own  merit  have  a  right   to   be   included   in   the
general/unreserved category.  Such MRC not  to  be  included  in  the  quota
reserved for Scheduled Caste etc.  It is an admitted position that if  these
persons are excluded, the respondents have not exceeded the quota meant  for
reserved category.  The respondents, at the time of  counseling,  have  only
accorded a higher/better choice to  these  meritorious  reserved  candidates
(MRC) who got recommended against general/unreserved seats  vis-à-vis  those
reserved category candidates who are accommodated against their  quota.   It
is, therefore, an inter-se adjustment  between  the  two  kinds  of  persons
belonging to reserved category.  In their inter-se merit, these persons  who
have been able to find their place in  general  list  on  account  of  their
merit are definitely better placed than those candidates  who  are  selected
in the  reserved  category,  though  both  types  of  candidates  belong  to
reserved category.   Thus,  if  between  these  two  categories  of  persons
belonging to same class, higher choice is not given to the persons  who  are
better in merit viz. the MRCs, it would clearly be injustice to them.   This
was precisely the issue which was referred for decision to the  Constitution
Bench in the case of Ramesh Ram (supra). In paragraph  3  of  the  judgment,
the Constitution Bench stated  the  question  which  was  referred  for  its
decision and, the same reads as follows:

            “Whether candidates belonging  to  reserved  category,  who  get
           recommended against general/unreserved vacancies  on  account  of
           their merit (without the benefit of  any  relaxation/concession),
           can opt for a higher choice of  service  earmarked  for  reserved
           category and thereby migrate to reserved category.”



 20.  In the light of the submissions made by the counsel for  the  parties,
 the Court framed three questions which had arisen for consideration and the
 same are  as under:

                   I.Whether  the  reserved  category  candidates  who  were
           selected on merit (i.e. MRCs) and placed in the list  of  general
           category candidates could  be  considered  as  reserved  category
           candidates at the time of “service allocation”?

                  II.Whether Rules 16(2),(3),(4) and (5) of  the  CSE  Rules
           are inconsistent  with  Rule  16(1)  and  violative  of  Articles
           14,16(4) and 335 of the Constitution of India?

                   III.Whether  the  order  of  the  Central  Administrative
           Tribunal was valid to the extent that it relied on  Anurag  Patel
           vs. U.P.Public Service Commission (which in turn had referred  to
           the judgment in Ritesh R.Sah v. Dr.Y.L.Yamul,  which  dealt  with
           reservations for the purpose of admission to postgraduate medical
           course); and whether the principles followed for reservations  in
           admissions to educational institutions can be applied to  examine
           the constitutionality of a policy that deals with reservation  in
           civil services.”




 21.  Dealing with the first question which directly arises in  the  present
 case, the Court clarified that a distinction is to  be  maintained  between
 the cases dealing  with  the  admission  to  educational  institutions  and
 appointment to a service.  The Court accepted the general proposition  that
 such a course of action affords a meritorious  reserved  candidates  (MRC),
 the benefit of reservation in so far as service allocation is concerned, if
 this is not done, lesser meritorious reserved candidates would be  able  to
 secure better discipline.  Therefore, this course of action  preserves  and
 protects inter-se merit amongst the reserved candidates.

 22.  No doubt, while doing so, the Court  was  of  the  opinion  that  such
 meritorious reserved candidates (MRC) who avail the benefit of  Rule  16(2)
 of the Civil Services Examination  Rules  (which  permitted  such  inter-se
 transfer) and are eventually adjustment  in  the  reserved  category,  they
 should be counted part of reserved category for the  purpose  of  computing
 aggregate reservation quota.  However, it  was  categorically  stated  that
 this proposition applies when there is an appointment to  a  service  under
 the State and categorically excluded the cases of  admission in educational
 institutions.  In so  far  as  admission  in  educational  institutions  is
 concerned, such a MRC was to  continue  to  be  treated  as   belonging  to
 general category, which position he attained because of his initial  merit.
 The Court noted that this was so held in  Ritesh  R.Sah  v.  Dr.  Y.L.Yamul
 (1996) 3 SCC 253.

 23.  The question in that case was
whether a  reserved  category  candidate
 who is entitled to be selected for admission in  open  competition  on  the
 basis of his/her own merit should be counted against the  quota  meant  for
 the reserved category or should he be treated as a general  candidate.  The
 Court  reached the conclusion that when  a  candidate  is  admitted  to  an
 educational institution on his own merit, then such admission is not to  be
 counted against the  quota  reserved  for  Schedule  Castes  or  any  other
 reserved category.  It was so held in the following words:

           “……In view of the legal position enunciated by this Court in the
           aforesaid cases the conclusion is irresistible  that  a  student
           who is entitled to be admitted on  the  basis  of  merit  though
           belonging to a reserved category  cannot  be  considered  to  be
           admitted against sets reserved for reserved category. But at the
           same time the provisions should be so made that it will not work
           out to the disadvantage of such candidate  and  he  may  not  be
           placed at a more disadvantageous position than  the  other  less
           meritorious  reserved   category   candidates.   The   aforesaid
           objective can be achieved if after finding  out  the  candidates
           from amongst the reserved category who would otherwise  come  in
           the open merit list and then asking their option  for  admission
           into the different colleges which have been  kept  reserved  for
           reserved category and thereafter the cases of  less  meritorious
           reserved category candidates should be considered  and  they  be
           allotted  seats  in  whichever  colleges  the  seats  should  be
           available. In other words, while a reserved  category  candidate
           entitled to admission on the basis of his merit  will  have  the
           option of taking admission in the  colleges  where  a  specified
           number of seats have been kept reserved  for  reserved  category
           but while computing the percentage of  reservation  he  will  be
           deemed to have been admitted as an open category  candidate  and
           not as a reserved category candidate.”


24.  Since,  we  are  concerned  with  the  admission  to  medical  course,
 aforesaid judgment squarely applies to the present case.      Thus we  find
 that neither upper limit of 50% reservation is breached, nor any rights  of
 the petitioners are violative or the action of the respondents have been to
 their prejudice in any manner. Thus, we  do  not  find  any  merit  in  the
 present petition, which is accordingly dismissed.  No costs.




                                              ………………………………….J.
                                              (K.S.Radhakrishnan)






                                              …………………………………J.
                                              (A.K.Sikri)


 New Delhi,
 December 11, 2013








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