Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concern over the denial of the reservation to candidates from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) under the All India Quota in state-run medical colleges.
The quota is filled through the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) in medical education institutions in states and union territories (UTs).
Under the All India Quota, 15%, 7.5%, and 10% seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and economically weaker section (EWS) candidates, respectively, in both central and state-run medical colleges.
However, at present, the reservation for OBC candidates under the quota is restricted only to central institutions.
On May 11, a controversy erupted, when the All India Federation of Other Backward Classes Employees’ Welfare Association wrote to the National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC), claiming that OBC candidates have been denied reservations under the All India Quota both in undergraduate and postgraduate courses since 2017.
Gandhi quoted the data compiled by the federation to claim that OBC candidates lost over 11,000 seats, in All India Quota, due to non-implementation of OBC reservations in medical colleges in states and UTs.
“Denial of reservations to OBCs in state medical institutions in All India Quota, being administered by the central government, violates the very objective of the 93rd Constitutional Amendment and is a barrier to access medical education for deserving OBC candidates,” the Congress chief wrote in the letter.
The 93rd Constitutional Amendment has special provisions for the admission of socially and educationally backward classes, or for the SCs, or the STs in educational institutions, including private ones, whether aided or unaided by the state, other than the minority institutions.
“In the interest of equity and social justice, I strongly urge the Union government to extend the reservation for OBC candidates in All India Quota of medical and dental seats, even in medical education institutions in states and UTs,” Gandhi said.
The issue took a political turn when the Congress; the Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI (M), the Communist Party of India (CPI); the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) moved the Supreme Court (SC) in June, challenging the Centre’s decision not to grant 50% reservation to OBCs as per Tamil Nadu law in medical seats surrendered by the state in the All India Quota for undergraduate, postgraduate and dental courses for the academic session 2020-21.
The SC had refused to entertain their pleas and instead asked them to approach the Madras high court in this regard.
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