New Delhi: Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, on Tuesday agreed to hear Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quota case for hearing on January 5, after the Centre on Monday requested the Supreme Court to urgently hear a case relating to reservation of EWS category in NEET admissions for Post-Graduate medical courses. The case was originally slated for hearing on January 6.
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre said the resident doctors are rightly concerned as admissions to PG courses have been stalled pending hearing before a 3-J bench.
On December 31, the Centre had 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 postgraduate courses.
The Centre informed the apex court that an expert committee has been constituted by the government to reassess the criteria and 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 has opined while recommending the introduction of revised EWS criteria from the next academic year.
The affidavit has 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.
Earlier, the apex court had asked the Centre to put on hold the counselling for NEET-PG until it decides 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 is examining a plea against the Centre’s decision for medical admission.
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 EWS category for the admission in the NEET for all medical seats.
The July 29 notice provides 27 per cent reservation for OBC and 10 per cent for the 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 the Centre whether any exercise was undertaken before fixing a limit of Rs 8 lakh annual income for determining the EWS category.