EXPLAINER: THE FIGHT OVER OBC RESERVATION
Careers 360|September 2020
A court battle is on over OBC reservation in the AIQ seats in state medical colleges. What is the controversy about?
R Radhika

The Madras High Court, on July 27, directed the central government to constitute a committee to decide a formula to apply Tamil Nadu’s reservation scheme in the All India Quota or AIQ seats in the state’s medical colleges.

The committee will be responsible for determining the terms of implementing the Other Backward Caste (OBC) reservation in AIQ seats in the undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses that Tamil Nadu contributes to the national pool.

At least 13 petitions were filed by major political parties in Tamil Nadu over OBC reservations in June. The High Court, disposing of these petitions, said that the committee will have “preferably” three months to suggest the guidelines. The secretary of the ministry of health will be a part of this committee.

The framework, the court said, will be implemented with “regard to courses that are to be run in future and not present academic year” to not disturb the 2020-21 selection process. Counselling for PG medical admission concluded in June. The MBBS academic year usually begins in August but has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Deliberations on the quota will not affect it.

But what is the controversy all about?

AIQ seats in medicine

The AIQ seats in medicine were created on the directions of the Supreme Court in 1984. All states were required to surrender 15 percent undergraduate and 50 percent postgraduate medical and dental seats in state-run colleges to a “central pool” with the rest going to a “state pool”. The “central pool” is the All India Quota (AIQ) and students across the country are eligible to apply for admission to this.

The central Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) conducts counselling – which is the process of assigning a seat to a candidate – for the AIQ. The remaining seats are filled by the respective state counselling authorities and are generally reserved for permanent residents of that states.

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