CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Thursday upheld the 7.5% reservation provided by the Tamil Nadu government for students from government schools in admission to medical courses.
The first bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy directed the state to review the quota in five years as prescribed by the committee that recommended the quota.
“We direct the state government to review the same in a period of five years as recommended by the commission and during the intervening period steps may be taken to improve the standard of education in government schools so that the reservation may not be further extended beyond five years,” the court said.
The bench passed the order on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the quota.
During arguments, the Tamil Nadu government justified the reservation and contended that the quota was instrumental in bridging the rural-urban and rich-poor gap in landing MBBS seats.
The state government is competent and empowered to give such institutional preferences and the same has been approved by the Supreme Court, it added.
Pointing out that mark alone is not the determinative factor for merit, the state argued that the ‘cultural capital’ that forward community students inherit from their family must be offset.
According to the petitioners, the general category candidates has only 31% seats available due to the 69% reservation policy followed in the state. Now, it has been further pushed by the 7.5% quota, they said.