The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that a court cannot issue directions to a state government to provide reservation for any class of citizens.
A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarathna said: "No mandamus can be issued by the court directing the state government to provide for reservation."
It emphasized that the power lies with the state government to make a provision but, at the same time, courts cannot issue any mandamus to the state to necessarily make such a provision.
The top court made these observations while quashing a high court order to reserve three per cent seats under the sports quota in government medical and dental colleges in Punjab.
Citing previous judgments in the matter, the bench observed as far as the provisions for reservation in matters of promotion to any class or classes of a post is concerned, such a provision can be made in favor of SC/ST category employees if, in the opinion of the state, they are not adequately represented in services under the state.
"It is observed that therefore power lies with the state to make a provision but, at the same time, Courts cannot issue any mandamus to the state to necessarily make such a provision," it said.
Citing a recent judgment, the top court observed that even no writ of mandamus can be issued directing the state to collect quantifiable data to justify their action not to provide for reservation.
"It was observed that even if the under-representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public services is brought to the notice of the court, no mandamus can be issued by the court to the state government to provide for reservation," noted the bench.
The apex court set aside the August 2019 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had directed the state government to provide a sports quota of three per cent in government medical and dental colleges instead of one per cent.
"The High Court has exceeded its jurisdiction while issuing a writ of mandamus directing the state to provide a particular percentage of reservation for sportspersons, namely, in the present case, 3 per cent reservation instead of 1 per cent provided by the state government, while exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution."
It said the high court judgment is unsustainable and the same deserves to be quashed and set aside.