No AIIMS faculty quota, rules SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked caste-based reservations in appointments to faculty posts in premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) saying constitution benches of the court had repeatedly and concurrently warned against reservation at super-specialty level. 

"There were certain services and posts where either on account of the nature of duties attached to them or the level in the hierarchy at which they stood, merit alone counts. In such, situations, it cannot be advised to provide for reservations" a five-judge constitution bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices S S Nijjar, Ranajan Gogoi, M Y Eqbal and Vikramjit Sen said quoting from the judgment a nine-judge bench delivered in Indira Sawhney case

The court quoting from Indira Sawhney verdict, which had upheld the 27% reservation for OBCs in Central services, said: "In certain services in respect of certain posts, application of rule of reservation may not be advisable in regard to various technical posts including posts in super specialty in medicine, engineering and other scientific and technical posts." 

The Faculty Association of AIIMS and Resident Doctors Association, which had challenged the reservation scheme being applied to appointments in premier institutes faculty positions, had argued that that all these posts required qualification in a super-specialty course. 

AIIMS, however, cited Eklavya tale of Mahabharat and supported continuance of reservation for appointments in faculty positions in AIIMS saying without quota the Eklavyas would always lose to Arjun who had the backing of the traditional system. The Centre, too, supported the stand of AIIMS. 

What prevailed upon the bench headed by the Justice Kabir was the Indra Sawhney case, which while stressing the relevance and significance of merit at the stage of initial recruitment, had cautioned that reservation too implied selection of less meritorious person. 

While giving due weight to AIIMS and government argument that SC, ST and OBCs needed social uplift through reservation, the bench said it could not overlook the plausible view that "the very concept of reservation implies mediocrity and we will have to take not of the caution indicated in Indra Sawhney's case." 

After reiterating the caution and subscribing to the judicially settled view that there could be no reservation in the super-specialty posts, the bench said: "We impress upon the central and State governments to take appropriate steps in accordance with the views expressed in Indra 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." 

Article 335 of the Constitution provided: "The claims of the members of the SCs and STs shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of Union or of a State."

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