The Bombay High Court on Monday struck down the Maharashtra government's 90:10 reservation formula for admission in junior colleges, ruling that it was arbitrary and devoid of merits.
The court gave its ruling on a bunch of petitions filed by parents of students challenging the state government's June 18 proposal to reserve 90 per cent seats in first year junior colleges (standard eleven) for SSC board students.
Terming the state government's proposal as 'unconstitutional', the high court said that admissions could be granted only on the basis of merit.
The court said that the classification of students as coming from SSC board and non-SSC education boards was 'artificial and imaginary'.
The decision to reserve 90 per cent seats for SSC students results in meritorious students of other educational boards being denied admission in their preferred colleges. The court also refused to grant a stay on its order.
Under the 90:10 formula, 90 per cent seats in Class XII in colleges all over the state would have been reserved for SSC board pass-outs.
Only 10 per cent seats would be for non-SSC board students -- mainly ICSE and CBSE -- the government resolution said.
Several parents of ICSE and CBSE students had challenged the government order, arguing that it would deny their children a fair chance to get admission to top colleges.
The government's logic, on the other hand, was that marking in ICSE and CBSE exams was more liberal, so students from these boards scored better in class 10th exam and 'cornered' seats in top colleges.
SSC and non-SSC board students cannot be treated as equals, the government had argued.