From The Times of India, Tuesday, May 23, 2006 – “Striking AIIMS docs live in a glass house” –
NEW DELHI: The main grouse of AIIMS students – at the forefront of the stir against 27% reservation for OBCs – is that merit is being sacrificed at the altar of votebank politics. But they forget two things: 25% reservation that AIIMS graduates get in PG admission and the Supreme Court judgment of 2001 that declares the earlier system of 33% reservation for them bad in law.
In fact, the SC, while stating that 33% institutional reservation is “unconstitutional”, agreed with the findings of the Delhi High Court, which had earlier set aside the reservation.
The HC had found that “AIIMS students, who had secured as low as 14% or 19% or 22% in the (all-India) entrance examination got admission to PG courses while SC or ST candidates could not secure admission in their 15% or 7% quota in PG courses, in spite of having obtained marks far higher than the in-house candidates of the institute.” HC had analysed admission data over five years.
The apex court also agreed with the HC that the “figure of 33% reservation for in-house candidates was statistically so arrived at as to secure 100% reservation for AIIMS students. There were about 40 AIIMS candidates. The PG seats being 120, 33% thereof worked out to be 40.” That meant all 40 AIIMS graduates were assured of PG seats.
Merit here was clearly being sacrificed, the study showed. For instance, in the January 1996 session, an AIIMS student with 46.167% marks – lowest for an AIIMS student that year – got PG admission.
However, an SC student with the same grades was admitted but denied coveted course such as obstetrics and gynaecology. The SC student got shunted to community while AIIMS students easily won berths in prestigious disciplines.
Twelve AIIMS candidates were selected even though they got less marks than the SC candidate who secured 60.33% marks. Similarly, 16 AIIMS students got admission to PG courses even though they got less marks than another ST student who got 62.16%.
Basing itself on this study, SC said, “Institutional reservation is not supported by the Constitution or constitutional principles.” “A certain degree of preference for students of the same institution intended to prosecute further studies therein is permissible on grounds of convenience, suitability and familiarity with an educational environment,” it added.
Preferences, the court said, had to be “reasonable and not excessive…Minimum standards cannot be so diluted as to become practically non-existent.” In the similar vein, SC said, “It cannot be forgotten that the medical graduates of AIIMS are not ‘sons of soil’. They are drawn from all over the country.”
The court reasoned that these students had “no moorings in Delhi. They are neither backward nor weaker sections of society. Their achieving an all-India merit and entry in the premier institution of national importance should not bring in a brooding sense of complacence in them”.
Extending the damning logic, the court said in preserving quotas for its own students, “the zeal for preserving excellence is lost. The students lose craving for learning.”
There are a few comments supporting the inhouse reservations – all I can say is, if AIIMS graduates work for 18 hours a day servicing patients, so do others who appear for the PG courses. Its a requirement in the medical courses. See it online. Looks like the white lab-coats are more than a symbol of anti-reservation – they also hide in-house reservations.
YFE and Kunal Krishna have yet to answer my mails. My arguments are as follows:
- Don’t hold medical services to ransom.
- Attack sidelining of merit on all fronts –
- Reservations for girls – yes, we have them, inspite of girls beating us boys at every exam.
- NRI/management seats – money power, eh?
- Local MLA/MP “recommendations”
- And now, inhouse reservations
- If you can, please avoid making it an anti-OBC movement.