The Supreme Court Thursday said it was for the central government to decide whether there should be reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in super speciality posts in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) as the court declined to revisit its July 2013 judgment.
“We clarify (that) it is for the central government to take decision as to whether to have reservation in super specialty posts,” said the apex court constitution bench of Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice S.S. Nijjar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice Vikaramajit Sen while disposing off the centre’s review petition seeking recall of the court’s July 18, 2013, order.
As Additional Solicitor General L. Nageshwar Rao told the court that there were two or three errors in the judgment which was sought to be recalled, the court said it was for the government to identify where reservation can’t take place and to take appropriate steps as stipulated under the Indira Sawhney judgment.
“Even now the ball is in your court to say that in super specialty posts there should be reservation,” Justice Dattu said as Rao urged the court to revisit its verdict.
Justice Gogoi wondered where was the doubt as the resolutions of AIIMS providing for reservation have not been set aside by the July 2013 verdict.
“The resolutions that have been challenged have not been set aside,” Justice Gogoi pointed out.
Shunning the centre’s plea for recall of its verdict, Justice Dattu said: “In anything and everything you want the court to say. You don’t want to say. It is for you to say that in super specialty posts, reservation is impermissible.”
“It is for the central government to take appropriate decision to amend or not to amend the constitution,” the court said.
It said it found no fault with its judgment sought to be recalled by the centre as it did not stand in the way of the government extending reservation in super specialty posts.
The centre in its review petition had said that the issue before the court was whether reservation policy was inapplicable for making appointment to the entry-level faculty posts of assistant professor and to super specialty posts and whether resolutions adopted by AIIMS Jan 11, 1983 and May 27, 1994 providing reservation were liable to be struck down or not.
The government in its recall plea said the court in its July 2013 judgment did not give any categorical answer in deciding the petitions by the faculty association of AIIMS which had challenged the resolution providing for reservation.
The constitution bench in an advice to the government asked it to desist from granting reservation in super specialty and higher faculty posts.
The court had said that while granting such reservation the mandate of Article 335 of the constitution has to be kept in view which accords primacy to merit and quality.
However, this was more in the nature of a suggestion than a direction to the government.
Having referred to the Indira Sawhney judgment, the apex court constitution bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir (since retired), Justice Nijjar, Justice Gogoi, Justice Eqbal and Justice Sen had said July 18, 2013: “We impress upon the central and state governments to take appropriate steps in accordance with the views expressed in Indira Sawhney’s case and in this case, as also the other decisions referred to above, keeping in mind the provisions of Article 335 of the Constitution.”