The Madras High Court on Thursday upheld the 7.5% reservation for government school students to secure admissions in undergraduate medical courses in Tamil Nadu colleges, Hindustan Times reported.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led state government had announced the 7.5% quota for the government school students in October 2020. The government had argued that the reservation is meant to bring equality between students of government and private schools.

The government had issued an executive order to implement the reservation as Banwarilal Purohit, who was the governor at the time, for a month did not give assent a Bill passed by the state Assembly.

In August 2021, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam tabled the Bill for the second time and sought to abolish the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test, or NEET. The examination is a pre-medical entrance test for students who want to pursue undergraduate medical courses.

On Thursday, a bench headed of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy also directed the state government to review the reservation in five years.

It said that the state government should take measures “to improve the standard of education in government schools so that the reservation may not be further extended beyond five years”, The Indian Express reported.

Those who have studied in government-run schools from Class 6 to Class 12 are eligible for the quota. It is not applicable to those enrolled in government-aided schools.

The court also dismissed all the petitions challenging the reservation, The New Indian Express reported.

Chief Minister MK Stalin welcomed the verdict, calling it a huge victory for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led government.

Senior counsel and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Rajya Sabha member P Wilson called it a “legal victory for Stalin and for social justice”.

Coordinator of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam too hailed the “historic ruling”.