The Supreme Court in its judgement said that the constitutional courts can’t direct the state government to earmark a certain percentage of reservation to any category in admissions to government-run institutions or jobs. The court also overturned a verdict made by the Punjab & Haryana High Court directing a 3% sports quota in admissions to medical & dental institutions in the state.
A bench of Justices MR Shah & BV Nagarathna, while hearing a petition filed by the Government of Punjab challenging the ruling of the High Court, stated that the writ of mandamus (judicial writ) can’t be issued by the court directing the state government to provide for reservation. The court also cited a series of Supreme Court judgements in between 2010 & 2020, where the Supreme Court observed that it is for the state to take a decision on providing for reservation for different classes based on various factors and that there cannot be any direction by a court for earmarking quota benefits for any particular class of citizens.
The Punjab & Haryana High Court directed the Punjab Government to provide 3% quota in admissions to MBBS and BDS courses in government medical and dental colleges in place of 1% reservation provided by the state. The decision was challenged by the state government at the Supreme Court.
The SC stated that Article 15(4) of the Constitution is an enabling provision and the state government is the best judge to grant reservation for SC/ST/backward categories. Any policy and the decision of the state not to make any provision or reservation suffers from no infirmity and that every state can take its own decision with regard to reservation depending on various factors.
However, the court refrained from interfering with the other part of the order since the state government had itself come out with a fresh rule providing for 1% reservation for the kins of those affected by terrorism and during the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 in private medical colleges as well as for management quota seats from the 2021-22 session.