“Reservation is not a fundamental right“, the Supreme Court held while refusing to accept a series of pleas demanding the enforcement of a 50 per cent reservation for “Other Backward Classes (OBCs)” for state-funded seats in the all-India quota for U.G. and P.G. medical courses in Tamil Nadu. In the series of judgments this year, the Apex Court held many times that Reservation is not a fundamental right.
Article 16(4) and 16(4-A) are in the form of “enabling provisions”, which, if situations so warrant, grant the State Government discretion to consider making reservations. It is settled legislation that the State Government cannot be directed to make a reservation about appointments to public posts. Likewise, the State is not required to make quotas in favour of S.C. and S.T. in terms of promotions. But this is creating ambiguity as to the main purpose of Article 15(4) and 16(4) is to create special provisions for the upliftment of the downtrodden class of the society.
The Court in the present case had clarified some of the grey areas, but states should not misuse the judgment as it is well established that the Government cannot grant reservations without quantifiable data that shows inadequate representation.