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EWS-OBC Quota: SC Tells Centre To Put NEET-PG Counselling on Hold Till Decision

Senior advocate Arvind Datar mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud.

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Education
2 min read
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The Supreme Court on Monday, 25 October, told the Centre to put on hold counselling for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test - Postgraduation (NEET-PG) until it decides the validity of Other Backward Class (OBC) and Economically Weaker Section (EWS) reservation in All India Quota (AIQ).

The Centre's counsel submitted that counselling will not commence till the top court decides the case on reservation for EWS-OBC quota in the AIQ medical seats.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud.

Datar submitted that the counselling schedule has been announced – from 24 October and it will be concluded on 29 October – and sought the court's intervention in the matter stating that the process will be completed during the pendency of the matter before the court.

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The apex court had questioned the Centre on the rationale behind fixing Rs 8 lakh as annual income criteria for EWS. Following Datar's submissions, the bench directed the Centre not to go ahead with the counselling process until it decides the matter. The bench is slated to hear the matter on 28 October.

On 21 October, the top court had questioned the Centre over adopting the criteria of the OBC creamy layer of Rs 8 lakh annual income for granting reservations under the EWS, despite the latter not suffering from social and educational backwardness.

The court told Centre's counsel, "You just cannot pull out eight lakh from thin air. You are making unequal equal by applying the Rs eight lakh limit."

It noted that for the OBCs, people who are below the 8 lakh annual income criteria, they suffer from social and educational backwardness. It added, "Under the constitutional scheme, the EWS category is not socially and educationally backward".

The bench had asked Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj whether the government has collected some data – demographic, sociological, or socio-economic – before fixing the EWS criteria uniformly. It further queried the law officer whether the government accounted for the differences in urban and rural purchasing power, and also whether it undertook any exercise before arriving at the criteria.

Nataraj submitted the limit was fixed based on the Sinho Commission report, but the bench was not convinced.

The top court is hearing a clutch of petitions by Neil Aurelio Nunes and others against the 27 percent reservation for OBCs and 10 percent reservation for EWS in the AIQ seats for postgraduate medical courses. As many as 15 percent seats in MBBS and 50 percent seats in MS and MD courses are filled through the AIQ from the candidates selected through NEET.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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