Friday, October 29, 2004

SC tells govt to frame law on reservations

Kathmandu, October 29:

In a move that could help the uplift of the backward communities to a great extent, the Supreme Court today directed the government to promulgate a law to reserve seats for the Dalits, Janajatis and women in various sectors. The order comes in response to a writ petition filed by a group of students challenging a three-month-old decision taken by the government to provide reservations to the Dalits, Janajatis and women. A division bench of justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Anup Raj Sharma issued the directives to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet, the Ministry of Education and the Tribhuvan University’s board and Grant Commission. “Unless specific Acts are formulated, the authorities do not have the right to provide quotas to any one,” the bench ruled. The apex court revoked the government decision taken on August 3 which provided 10 per cent seats to the Dalits, 15 per cent to the Janajatis and 20 per cent to women for pursuing the MBBS and BE courses in colleges under the TU.

On September 17, the apex court had ordered the TU to withhold results of the MBBS and BE entrance examination held some months ago. The results were scheduled to be published on September 22. “This is a positive move,” former law minister Subash Kumar Nembang said. He urged the government to promulgate the Act needed in this regard as soon as possible. Challenging the government decision on quotas, a group of students had filed three separate Public Interest Litigations at the SC. They had said the government decision violated their right to equality guaranteed by Article 11 of the Constitution. “The government has taken the decision without formulating special laws,” the petitioners had claimed. They had also questioned how the rights of other classes of people can be secured if the government provided quotas to a specific group without any law backing it. Meanwhile, the Student Federation of Adibasi Janajati Nepal (SFAJN) and the Nepal Independent Dalit Students Organisation (NIDSO) criticised today’s SC verdict.

Source: The Himalayan Times, October 29, 2004

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