The Supreme Court has upheld the Manipur High Court order on reservation norms at Manipur University.

In an order, the Manipur High Court had maintained that Manipur University is required to follow the reservation norms of 2 per cent for the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), 31 per cent for the Scheduled Tribes (ST), and 17 per cent for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) for purposes of admission.

A top court bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hima Kohli said, “In the instant case, the respondent No.1 – University has clarified in its affidavit that prior to commencement of the Reservation Act, the prevalent percentage of reservation for ST and SC candidates was 31 per cent and 2 per cent respectively. Nothing to the contrary has been brought forth by the appellant.”

The bench endorsed the view taken by the high court that after the amendment to the Reservation Act, the university had to follow the reservation norms for candidates — 2 per cent for SCs, 31 per cent for STs, and 17 per cent for OBCs.

The court noted that appellants counsel strenuously argued that the meaning ascribed to the words “date immediately preceding the date of commencement of the 2006 Act”, used in Clause (a) of the second proviso to Section 3 should be taken to mean the date just before the enactment of the Amendment Act, i.e., a rollback to the situation as was prevalent when the Reservation Act had come into force — 15 per cent for SCs, 7.5 per cent for STs and 27 per cent for OBC candidates.

“In our opinion, any such interpretation would strike at the root of the Amendment Act which was legislated with the sole object of overcoming the ambiguities that had come to the fore on working out the warp and woof of the Reservation Act, namely, the inability to meet the aspirations of a large number of ST candidates looking for opportunities to gain entry in CEIs located in the areas subsequently defined as the ‘specified northeastern region’ in the Amendment Act,” the top court said.

It added that the university was not wrong in calculating the extent of reservation on seats to different courses.

The top court judgment came on an appeal filed by Kshetrimayum Maheshkumar Singh and others against the Manipur High Court order.

Dismissing the appeals, it said: “We are in complete agreement with the findings returned in the impugned judgment that the university was right in reverting back to the position obtaining immediately before the commencement of the Reservation Act by reserving seats in respect of ST, SC and OBC candidates, pegged at 31 per cent, two per cent and 17 per cent respectively, which was in consonance with the Manipur State Reservation Policy.”

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