Maharashtra: Two Nagpur students file a second petition in SC against SEBC quota

We have received threats from the Maratha community for challenging the ordinance. Medical students from open category are worried about speaking openly on the issue, the petitioner said. (Representational Image)

Two students from Nagpur have filed a petition in the Supreme Court (SC), challenging the Maharashtra government s ordinance granting 16 per cent reservation to the Socially and Educationally Backward Caste (SEBC). This comes after three students from Mumbai had filed a similar petition on Tuesday. Both petitions are set to be clubbed and heard by the court on Friday.

One of the petitioners, an MBBS graduate, said: We have questioned the Maharashtra government s decision to violate the SC order on scrapping SEBC reservation for this year. We have challenged the ordinance and its retrospective effect.

In May first week, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court had scrapped reservations for SEBC for this year, observing that medical admissions under National Entrance Cum Eligibility Test (NEET) had started before the SEBC notification was issued. A week later, the SC had upheld the HC decision. However, clearing the way for Maratha quota in all admissions involving a national test, Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had on Monday signed an ordinance providing 16 per cent reservation for SEBC in educational institutions in Maharashtra from 2019-20. The ordinance restores the first admission list published by state in April, where among the 972 postgraduate medical seats, only 233 are left for 2,000 students in the open category.

We have received threats from the Maratha community for challenging the ordinance. Medical students from open category are worried about speaking openly on the issue, the petitioner said.

He added that the petition also mentioned past cases and verdicts where similar reservations were scrapped by the court.

The petition states that Maharashtra government has circumvented both high court and Supreme Court orders.

Shraddha Subramanian, a medical student, said the delay in admission procedure will affect thousands of students if the court decision does not come soon. While the last date for completing admission procedure is May 25, the state government has granted an extension for another week.

Meanwhile, the state medical education department is going ahead with the admission procedure taking into account the reservation, Subramanian said.

On Monday evening, the department re-published its first list comprising names of SEBC and Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota students. While there are 156 seats for 213 Maratha students, there are 97 seats for 87 EWS students. Several courses, such as psychiatry, orthopaedics, ENT and chest medicine, are left with very few seats for open category students.