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Reservation not a Fundamental Right: Supreme Court

Table of Contents

  • Brief Overview
  • Background of the case
  • Argument by the petitioners
  • Highlights of the Verdict

In Brief 

Date          – 11th June

SC Bench   – L Nageshwar Rao, S Ravindra Bhat, Krishna Murari

-Reservation Not Fundamental right
-50% OBC reservation not eligible for seats surrendered under all India quota.

Background of the case

NEET – Under the National eligibility cum Entrance test (NEET), all medical colleges under any state Government, for their UG and PG medical courses must-

Allot 15% of their seats for All India Candidates

Rest 85% to be filled by Candidates of the respective state.

Reservation Policy of the Union vs State of Tamilnadu-

  • The Tamilnadu state government, allocates 50% of seats for OBC Candidates out of its total reservation of 69%.
  • The union Government on the other hand allocates 22.5 % seats for SCs/STs and 27% seats for candidates from Other Backward classes (OBCs)
  • In accordance with the Union allocation of reservation, only 27% of the seats were reserved for OBC candidates under the 15% of seats surrendered by the TN state government for the All India candidates
  • Hence multiple political parties from TN filed petition in the Supreme court challenging this, seeking 50% OBC reservation for the seats surrendered by the state under the All India Quota.


Tamilnadu OBC reservation system

Main Category Sub Category Reservation Percentage
Backward class (BC) BC non-Muslims (general) 26.5%
BC Muslims 3.5%
Most Backward Class


Most Backward Communities  


Denotified Communities


Argument by the Petitioners

  • The petition was filled citing Article 32 of the Constitution which provides for remedies against violation of fundamental rights
  • This argument was supported by citing Article 16 [primarily 16(4)]
  • Hence proclaiming that the Union’s decision violated the Fundamental right to education of OBC candidates in Tamilnadu

Highlights of the Verdict

The bench observed that

  • Reservation in education or employment cannot be considered a fundamental right
  • Hence, there was no violation of Fundamental rights and hence no reason to file a case under Article 32
  • Also the bench suggested the petitioners to move the case to the Madras HC since it was primarily a matter of reservation in the State of Tamilnadu


Article 16 in The Constitution of India

Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment

(1) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State

(4) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State










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