Caste Reservation Is Called Death of Merit, But What About The NRI Quota?

There has always been a huge outcry against caste-based reservation policies with fervent arguments of how they reflect the death of meritocracy. However, the fact that most educational institutions reserve seats for foreign nationals/non-resident Indians (NRIs)/NRI-sponsored applicants is not seen as detrimental to merit.  

To procure a NRI/management quota seat, the only qualification one needs is having lots of money, together with the privilege of either possessing a foreign passport, or just knowing someone who stays abroad. 

Quota un-Quota: What are the Justifications? 

Caste-based reservations were formulated to provide support for the communities that suffered grave injustices in the pre-independence era and continue to face the consequences of their social and educational backwardness.

For foreign national/NRI/NRI-sponsored categories, the justification is rather peculiar.

In 2005, a seven-judge bench in the P A Inamdar versus State of Maharashtra case decided on the extent of quotas and state reservation in private institutions and the regulation of fees in 2005. 

In fact, the judgment noted that, by and large, students admitted under the NRI quota are not NRIs, nor are their parents. 

Even as the Court noted that admissions were being given to less meritorious students because they could afford the high fees, it still deemed the quota as essential since it brought in money for institutions to strengthen and enlarge their educational activities. 
 
However, the judgment mandated that the surplus fees collected from NRIs should be utilised for benefiting students from economically weaker sections, who should be admitted on subsidised fees.

Chirayu Jain’s paper in the Economic and Political Weekly titled, “Constitutionality and Legality of Foreign National/NRI/NRISponsored Reservation Quotas,” examines the implementation of NRI quota in the National Law Universities and discusses the constitutionality of such a quota. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read more about the constitutionality of the NRI Quota, click here to read the article by Chirayu Jain in the Economic and Political Weekly’s issue to be published on 3 February, 2018.

 

Curated by: Vishnupriya Bhandaram [vishnupriya@epw.in]

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