The Supreme Court of India has issued notices to the central government and certain state administrations questioning their enforcement of reservation in higher education.

Specifically, the apex court sought reactions from the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in matters related to admission criteria for MBBS, BDS and other undergraduate courses and postgraduate seats in medicine under the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).

Per the rules of reservation in higher education, roughly 15% of the total seats available each year are reserved for backward sections of India’s population. State governments are mandated to play an active role in promoting the cause of reservation in India’s institutes of professional education. The national pool for postgraduate seats reserved for backward sections in medical universities was raised to 50% in recent times.

A plea filed by Justice V. Eswaraiah, Chairman of National Backward Classes Federation, alleged state governments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were overlooking OBC reservations in such matters. In reaction, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta, and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued the notices.

In his petition, Justice Eswaraiah alleged that OBC sections of Indian society have lost 1028 MBBS and BDS seats and 1911 seats in postgraduate medicine owing to an oversight by the state governments in 2018- 2019.

“They are following the rule of reservation in respect of SCs and STs, but are skipping OBC reservations though they too were brought into force by an Act of Parliament,” the petition filed by Justice Eswaraiah alleged.

In response, the apex bench gave notices to the Union secretaries of Health, Higher Education, Social Justice, the Directorate General of Health Sciences, and the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

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