New Delhi [India], January 7 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday allowed NEET-PG Counselling for 2021-2022 based on existing EWS/OBC reservation criteria.
The apex court has given green signal to 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 per cent for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category in the All-India Quota (AIQ) seats for the admission process in the NEET as existing criteria this year.
A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna said that it has upheld the constitutional validity of 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) for the admission in the NEET-PG.
However, for the EWS category, the Supreme Court said that the 10 percent criteria, which was notified earlier shall continue to operate for this year so that the admissions process shall not be dislocated for the current academic year.
The Court said that it will hear the matter relating to EWS later and listed it for March 3, 2022 for further hearing.
The Court noted that there is urgent need to commence the process of counselling and therefore it issued some interim direction.
The Court has earlier reserved its order on pleas relating to providing 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 per cent for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category in the All-India Quota (AIQ) seats for the admission in the NEET for all medical seats.
NEET-PG councelling has been on hold as the case was pending before the top court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre has contended that any revised criteria should be made applicable prospectively and the present counselling and admission should be held as per the existing criteria.
The government has also defended the OBC reservation as well as the Rs 8 lakh income criterion for determining EWS.
Senior advocates Arvind Datar and Shyam Divan appeared in the court on behalf of some of the candidates.
On Wednesday, the Centre requested the top court to allow commencement of the counselling for NEET-PG saying the doctors concern for counselling are genuine. Resident doctors have been protesting against the delay in the NEET-PG counselling.
Earlier, the apex court had asked the Centre to put on hold the counselling for NEET-PG until it decided the validity of the Centre's decision to introduce OBC and EWS reservation in All India Quota (AIQ). It had said that NEET-PG counselling will not start without its approval as the court was examining plea against Centre's decision for medical admission.
On December 31, the Centre filed an affidavit stating that it has decided to stick to the existing criteria of Rs 8 lakh annual income limit for determination of 10 per cent EWS reservation with respect to the ongoing admissions to the NEET post graduate courses.
The Centre had informed the apex court that an expert Committee constituted by the government to reassess the criteria, suggested that the existing criteria may be continued for ongoing admissions while the revised criteria suggested by the Committee may be adopted from the next admission cycle.
Changing the EWS criteria midway will lead to complications, the Committee had opined while recommending the introduction of revised EWS criteria from the next academic year.
The affidavit stated, "The Central government has decided to accept the recommendations of the Committee including the recommendation of applying the new criteria prospectively."
The three-member Committee was constituted by the Centre after the apex court had expressed serious reservations about whether any study was conducted at all before fixing the Rs 8 lakh limit for determining EWS.
The top court was hearing a batch of pleas challenging the Centre and Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) July 29, 2021 notice providing 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 per cent for Economic Weaker Sections (EWS) category for the admission in the NEET for all medical seats.
The July 29 notice provide 27 per cent reservation for OBC and 10 per cent for EWS category in 15 per cent UG and 50 per cent PG All India Quota (AQI) seats (MBBS/BDS and MD/MS/MDS) with effect from the current academic session 2021-22.
On October 21, the Bench had asked the Centre whether it would like to revisit the limit of Rs 8 lakh annual income, fixed for determining the EWS category for reservation in NEET admissions for medical courses.
It had asked Centre whether any exercise was undertaken before fixing a limit of Rs 8 lakh annual income for determining the EWS category. (ANI)