High Court of Tripura Credit: File image

Agartala: Deciding on the 13 medical seats reserved for Tripura students under the other backward classes (OBC) category, the High Court on Wednesday cancelled the three seats reserved at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal, Manipur, while directing the state to reserve the remaining 10 seats, at the Agartala Government Medical College (AGMC), for students from economically weaker sections (EWS).

A division bench of Tripura High Court headed by Chief Justice Akhil Kureshi and Justice SG Chattopadhyay passed the order for fresh counseling in the three RIMS seats the state had reserved for OBC candidates.

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Who challenged the reservation system in the Court?

MBBS aspirant Swapnanil Chowdhury, who had secured the 54th rank but was denied admission in RIMS, moved to court and filed a petition challenging the legality of reservation system made by the Tripura government under OBC quota among the seats reserved in RIMS for Tripura.

How many seats does Tripura have for medical candidates?

The Medical Council of India had allotted an additional 25 seats for the Agartala Government Medical College in addition to the existing 100 seats. Of these 25 new seats, the state government reserved 4 seats for national quota, 10 seats for the EWS, 3 for Schedule caste, 1 for general category and 7 for ST candidates.

A total of 13 seats are reserved for the Tripura students in RIMS, Imphal. Tripura government had started counselling for the medical seats, including the seats of RIMS. However, the institute said that they would follow the central law which has three seats reserved for the OBC candidates. But, the state government had not amended the law to reserve three seats in the RIMS.

Tripura Medical College (TMC), which is run by a society, has 80 seats out of which 20 seats are in the All India quota, 42 for the un-reserved category, 13 for SC and 25 for ST candidates.

Tripura also has three seats reserved in Regional Dental College, Guwahati, two seats in BHMS, Kolkata, one ST seat in Homeopathy institution, Medinipur and one general seat in BAMS Ayurveda, Udaipur of Rajasthan.

Challenging the legality

Public prosecutor Debalaya Bhattacharya said that in the past, financially weaker candidates did not get the benefit of reservation in any of the seats reserved for the state in Tripura.

However, the plaintiff’s lawyer Arijit Bhowmik argued that the state legislature had not amended the law to provide seats for the financially weaker sections. As a result, it is not possible to implement it in the state at this time.

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He also said that on November 7, the Medical Education Director had issued a notification for admission in Medical. It found that 3 seats were reserved for OBCs in RIMS and 10 seats for financially weaker sections in Agartala Government Medical College.

According to Bhowmik, a total of 48 per cent, including 31 per cent for the ST candidates and 18 per cent for the SC candidates have been reserved in the present system in Tripura. However, no law has been enacted in Tripura to reserve seats for OBCs and the financially weaker sections.

The verdict of the High Court

The first hearing in the case was held on November 25. The Chief Justice of the High Court, Akhil Kureshi issued a notice seeking a reply from the Tripura government, to which they responded on Wednesday. Following this, the Tripura High Court announced the final verdict on Wednesday.

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Public prosecutor Debalaya Bhattacharya said the High Court cancelled the reservation in three seats in RIMS for medical admissions from Tripura as no law has been enacted for the OBC category. There would be new counselling in three seats for RIMS medical college.

However, the court ruled in favour of 10 reservations for the financially weaker sections at Agartala Government Medical College, as the government of Tripura has decided to save the economically weaker classes and the petitioner does not belong to that group.

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