Observing that the courts cannot issue writs to provide quota, the Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside a part of the verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directing the Punjab government to provide three, instead of one, per cent reservation under sports category in state-run medical and dental colleges.
The verdict of the top court came on the appeal of the Punjab government against the 2019 common judgement of the high court directing issuance of fresh notification for providing for a sports quota of three per cent, instead of one per cent decided by the executive, in government-run medical and dental colleges of the state.
The high court had said that one per cent quota be provided for “children/grandchildren of terrorist affected persons/Sikh riots affected persons in all private unaided non-minority Medical/Dental institutions in the state”. It had also directed the reservation for terrorist and riots affected candidates shall apply to the management seats as well.
A bench comprising Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna dealt in detail with the validity of the High Court order enhancing the sports quota from one to three per cent in government medical and dental colleges and decided not to deal with the other aspect of the verdict. The question of whether the high court was right in providing one per cent quota for children or grandchildren of terrorist or riots affected persons in admissions has become “academic” as the state has now provided the reservation, the judgement said, adding that the “question of law” would remain open.
“So far as the second direction issued by the High Court directing to provide for a sports quota of three per cent in Government Medical/Dental Colleges in the State of Punjab is concerned, the same is hereby quashed and set aside by observing that no writ of mandamus could have been issued by the High Court,” it said. Dealing with the part of the high court order enhancing sports quota, the bench referred to various apex court verdicts and said, “No writ of mandamus can be issued by the court directing the State Government to provide for reservation."
“We are of the opinion that the High Court has committed a grave error in issuing a writ of mandamus and directing the State Government to provide for three reservation/quota for sportspersons, instead of one per cent as provided by the State Government", said SC.
“A conscious policy decision was taken by the State Government to provide for one per cent reservation/quota for sportspersons... Therefore, the High Court has exceeded its jurisdiction while issuing a writ of mandamus directing the State to provide a particular percentage of reservation for sportspersons..,” the 20-page judgement said while quashing the “unsustainable” high court verdict. Justice Shah, writing the judgement, said a conscious policy decision was taken by the state government to provide for only one per cent reservation/quota for sportspersons.
Earlier, several pleas were filed in the high court challenging the government’s notification on 2019 by which “one per cent reservation for sportspersons; one per cent reservation for children/grandchildren of terrorist affected persons and one per cent reservation for children/grandchildren of Sikh riot-affected persons in the State quota seats in government institutions” were provided. The high court had allowed the pleas and had issued several directions including enhancing the sports quota from one to three per cent.
With PTI Inputs