TODAY -

Reservation In Admission In Manipur University

Chabungbam Amuba Singh *

Rally by Manipur University SC/OBC students against implementation of Reservation Amendment Act 2012 :: August 04 2014
Rally by Manipur University SC/OBC students against implementation of Reservation Amendment Act 2012 on August 04 2014 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act") as amended by the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 in its substantive section, Section 3, states that:

3. The reservation of seats in admission and its extent in a Central Educational Institution shall be provided in the following manner, namely:-

(i) out of the annual permitted strength in each branch of study or faculty, fifteen per cent. seats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes;

(ii) out of the permitted strength in each branch of study or faculty, seven and one-half per cent. seats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Tribes;

(iii) out of the annual permitted strength in each branch of study or faculty, twenty-seven per cent. seats shall be reserved for the Other Backward Classes.

Provided that the State seats, if any, in a Central Educational Institution situated in the tribal areas referred to in the Sixth Schedule in the Constitution shall be governed by such reservation policy for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, as may be specified by notification in the official Gazette, by the Government of the State where such institution is situated:

Provided further that if there are no State seats in a Central Educational Institution and the seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes exceed the percentage specified under clause (i) or the seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes exceed the percentage specified under clause (ii) or the seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes taken together exceed the sum of percentage specified under clauses (i) and (ii), but such seats are-

(a) less than fifty percent of the annual permitted strength on the date immediately preceding the date of commencement of this Act, the total percentage of the seats required to be reserved for the Other Backward Classes under clause (iii) shall be restricted to the extent such sum of percentages specified under clauses (i) and (ii) falls short of fifty percent of the annual permitted strength;

(b) more than fifty percent of the annual permitted strength on the date immediately preceding the date of commencement of this Act, in that case no seat shall be reserved for the Other Backward Classes under clause (iii) but the extent of the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall not be reduced in respect of Central Educational Institutions in the specified north-eastern region.


The first and second provisos have been inserted as per the above-stated Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 which came into effect on 19 June 2012.

The meanings of the terms "State seats" and "specified north-eastern region"' are given in the amended Section 2 of the Act as reproduced below:

(ia) specified north-eastern region means the area comprising of the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and the tribal areas of Assam referred to in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution;

(ib) State seats, in relation to a Central Educational Institution, means such seats, if any, out of the annual permitted strength in each branch of study or faculty as are earmarked to be filled from amongst the eligible students of the State in which such institution is situated.


It is a cardinal principle of interpretation of statutes that the words of a statute must be understood in their natural, ordinary or popular sense and construed according to their grammatical meaning, unless such construction leads to some absurdity or unless there is something in the context or in the object of the statute to suggest to the contrary. The golden rule is that the words of a statute must prima facie be given their ordinary meaning. In fact, the Supreme Court of India has stated in unambiguous terms in its judgment dated 29.08.2001 in the case of Dental Council of India & ANR Vs. Hari Prakash & Ors [2001] INSC 437 that:

"The intention of the Legislature is primarily to be gathered from the language used in the statute, thus paying attention to what has been said as also to what has not been said."

In order to address the present controversy regarding reservation of seats in Manipur University, one has to first determine the applicability of the first and second provisos to Section 3 of the Act in the case of Manipur University by employing the afore-stated fundamental principle of interpretation of statutes.

In Manipur University, there has never been seat(s) earmarked to be filled from amongst the eligible students of Manipur. In any case, since Manipur University is not situated in any of the "tribal areas referred to in the Sixth Schedule in the Constitution", it is crystal clear that the first proviso has no applicability in the case of Manipur University.

The applicability of the second proviso is contingent upon the satisfaction of the following twin conditions simultaneously:

(a) That are no State seats in the Central Educational Institution; and

(b) (i) That the seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes exceed the percentage specified viz., 15%; or
(ii) That the seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes exceed the percentage specified viz., 7.5%; or
(iii) That the seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes taken together exceed the sum of percentages specified viz., 22.5%


In the case of Manipur University, the reservation norms as specified in clauses (i), (ii) and (iii) of Section 3 of the Act were implemented before amendment of the same by the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012. That is, immediately before the amended provisions came into effect (on 19 June 2012), the reservation norm followed in Manipur University was:

SC-15%, ST-7.5% and OBC-27%

It is clearly seen that the second condition necessary for invoking the second proviso is not satisfied in the case of Manipur University. It immediately follows that the second proviso would, therefore, have no applicability in the case of Manipur University.

Therefore, on a plain, natural and ordinary interpretation of the relevant provisions of the statute, the unambiguous answer to the question as to "What should be the reservation norm to be followed in Manipur University which is consistent and in accordance with the law as laid down by the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 as amended by the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012" is as follows:

SC-15%, ST-7.5% and OBC-27%

This interpretation is also consistent with the reservation norm to be followed in accordance with law by any new Central University which may be established in Manipur in the future. In fact, in such a scenario, if Manipur University is to follow its latest amended reservation norm (viz., ST-31%, SC-2% and OBC-17%), we would have the absurd and ludicrous situation of two Central Universities situated in the same state following different reservation norms. In fact, in such a scenario, the latest amended reservation norm adopted by Manipur University could well be interpreted as being ultra vires the Constitution.

One may add here that as per the official press release dated 17.06.2010 made by Press Information Bureau, Government of India, the rationale behind enactment of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 is stated as under:

"The Central Educational Institutions (CEIs) are facing certain practical difficulties in implementing the provisions of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006. These difficulties emanate from the fact that their Statutes already provide for reservation of higher percentage than 15% of the seats for SCs or 7.5% of the seats for STs, owing to the composition of population served by it. In some cases the CEIs which were State Universities earlier, have adopted the norms followed by the respective State Governments which require them to reserve more than 7.5 per cent of seats for STs. In order to address these problems, the Government has now proposed to amend certain provisions of the Act."

It is again clearly seen that the case of Manipur University having already implemented the relevant provisions of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006 before the enactment of the said Amendment Act is well outside the scope of the amendments pertaining to reservation of seats for SCs, STs and OBCs.


* Chabungbam Amuba Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is Former Vice Chancellor of Manipur University and can be reached at camuba(dot)singh(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on August 07, 2014.


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