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High court rejects plea seeking stay on Maratha ordinance

The petitioners – three medical aspirants from the state, two belonging to open category and one from other backward castes (OBC) – now plan to file an appeal in the SC.

mumbai Updated: Jun 14, 2019 04:58 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Maratha ordinance,OBC,SC
Medical students from Maratha community stage a protest at Azad Maidan, demanding implementation of the 16% quota under the SEBC category. (HT file photo)

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday rejected a plea against the state government’s ordinance to retain 16% reservation for Marathas under the socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) category in post-graduate medical and dental courses.

A bench of justices SB Shukre and SM Modak refused to hear the matter, citing the Supreme Court’s (SC) June 4 judgment which prohibited any court from hearing any petition or application related to PG medical and dental admissions for the current academic year.

The petitioners – three medical aspirants from the state, two belonging to open category and one from other backward castes (OBC) – now plan to file an appeal in the SC.

The petition was filed last month, after the SC refused to stay the state government’s ordinance to retain reservation for Marathas in post-graduate (PG) medical and dental courses.

The apex court, in a May 24 order, said pleas against the ordinance should be heard by the HC, as the latter is already hearing other petitions challenging SEBC reservation.

“We had taken this matter to the HC because the SC directed us to do so. Now, we will have to once again approach the apex court,” said Ashwin Deshpande, a counsel for the petitioners.

Vijay Thorat, lawyer for the state, argued the court shouldn’t hear the matter, as the SC has already refused to modify its June 4 verdict.

“The petitioners argued that the Supreme Court’s May 24 order should prevail over its June 4 verdict, as it was passed by a larger bench. However, there’s no contradiction between the two judgments,” he said.

The apex court, in its June 4 verdict, had directed the state to conduct a counselling round for general category students – the apex court later clarified that students from all categories can participate in the counselling – to fill the seats left vacant after scrapping of 10% economically and weaker section (EWS) quota in PG medical and dental admissions for 2019-20.

However, the court prohibited any further litigation related to admissions, noting the admissions of medical aspirants across the state were already delayed.

Following the verdict, one of the petitioners on June 7 filed an application seeking clarification from the apex court, so it doesn’t come in the way of the challenge to the SEBC ordinance filed in the HC.

However, the court on Monday rejected the application, ruling its order is clear and doesn’t need any further clarification.

First Published: Jun 14, 2019 04:58 IST