Courts can’t direct State to provide reservation to any class or category of citizens: SC

Courts can't direct State to provide reservation to any class or category of citizens: SC

The Supreme Court ruled that Courts cannot direct the State to provide reservation to any class or category of citizens.

The State of Punjab enacted the Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission, Fixation of fee and making of Reservation) Act, 2006. It was enacted for the regulation of admission, fixation of fee and making of reservation in Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions in the State of Punjab.

Section 6 of the 2006 Act provides for reservation of seats and as per the said Section, all private health sciences educational institutions shall reserve seats for admission in open merit category and management category, for advancement of socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes to such extent, as may be notified by the State Government in the official gazette from time to time.

By judgment and order, the High Court allowed the writ petitions partially and declared that reservation that is applicable to Government institutes shall extend to the private institutes as well. 

Advocate  Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the state, contended that  no writ of mandamus can be issued by the High Court directing the State to provide for reservation for the particular class or category and it should be left to the wisdom of the State Government.

Advocate P.S. Patwalia, appearing on behalf of the original writ petitioners has submitted that the notification under challenge before the High Court was for academic year 2019-20 and pursuant to the interim order passed by this Court, admissions have been given implementing the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court, except providing reservation to the extent of 3% for sports persons. 

The division bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna noted that the issue has become academic, on the ground that the issue before the High Court and even before the Court was/is for the academic year 2019-20.

The court stated that the High Court has committed a grave error in issuing a writ of mandamus and directing the State Government to provide for 3% reservation/quota for sports persons, instead of 1% as provided by the State Government. 

The court quashed and set aside the impugned common judgment and order passed by the High Court insofar as directing the State to provide for 3% reservation for sports persons and/or provide for a sports quota of 3% in the Government Medical/Dental Colleges and said that a conscious policy decision was taken by the State Government to provide for 1% reservation/quota for sports persons. 

The court held that the High Court has exceeded its jurisdiction while issuing a writ of mandamus while exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

Case title: The State of Punjab v/s Anshika Goyal and Ors.

Citation: CIVIL APPEAL NO. 317 OF 2022

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

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