The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Madras High Court to decide on merits of all petitions pending before it that seek the implementation of 50% reservation for Other Backward Classes in the all-India quota seats for medical and dental courses in Tamil Nadu, PTI reported.

A bench, led by Justice L Nageswara Rao, said the High Court should decide the petition of the state government and others irrespective of the pendency of another case before the Supreme Court. “All the contention raised in petitions should be decided by the High Court,” it said.

The Tamil Nadu government had challenged the Centre’s decision not to grant 50% quota to OBCs in the seats surrendered by the state to the all-India quota in undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma medical and dental courses for the academic year 2020-’21.

“Direct the High Court to expeditiously hear and dispose of the writ petitions,” the state government said in its petition before the top court. “The High Court has failed to appreciate that the respondents are stalling adjudication of the issue. The High Court has been misled by the respondent’s contentions and has unjustifiably kept the petitioner’s writ petition in abeyance till this court issues orders in an ostensibly identical matter.”

The Centre had urged the High Court to keep the Tamil Nadu case in limbo until the top court decided the Saloni Kumari versus Director General of Health Services matter. However, Rao ruled that the Saloni Kumari case pending with it regarding the grant of 27% OBC quota in terms of a Central Act could not impede the Madras High Court from deciding on the question of reserving 50% quota for OBCs in Tamil Nadu on the basis of a state law, according to The Hindu.

Senior advocate P Wilson, appearing for one of the petitioners, submitted that the Saloni Kumari case, pending before Supreme Court since 2015, cannot prevent the Madras High Court from hearing the batch of cases concerning OBC quota in Tamil Nadu. The bench, also comprised of Justice Hemant Gupta, agreed with the arguments made by Wilson.

The judges said the Madras High Court decision should be given in time for admissions in the current academic year. There should not be any further delay, they added.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Pattali Makkal Katchi had moved the High Court after the Supreme Court, on June 11, refused to entertain their petitions.