ADVERTISEMENT

NEET PG Counselling Order Explained: SC Upholds OBC, EWS Quota For 2021-22

The court has maintained the criterion of Rs 8 lakh annual income for the EWS category for this academic year.

Published
India
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>The apex court upheld the existing criteria of 27 percent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 percent reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category in the All-India Quota (AIQ) seats for all medical courses for the year 2021-22.</p><p></p></div>
i

After months of delays, and protests by anguished resident doctors in and around the national capital, the Supreme Court on Friday, 7 January pronounced its order regarding the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) PG counselling, allowing it to proceed.

The apex court upheld the existing criteria of 27 percent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 percent reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category in the All-India Quota (AIQ) seats for all medical courses for the year 2021-22.

Further, the court also maintained the criterion of Rs 8 lakh annual income for the EWS category for this academic year and listed petitions challenging the benchmark for final adjudication on 5 March.

Here is all you need to know about the Supreme Court order.

NEET PG Counselling Order Explained: SC Upholds OBC, EWS Quota For 2021-22

  1. 1. The EWS Quota: What the SC Said

    A two-judge bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna, which had reserved the orders on Thursday, stated:

    • "The criteria for the determination of the EWS notified by the office memorandum (OM) 2019 shall be used for identifying the EWS category for candidates who appeared for the NEET-PG 2021 and NEET-UG 2021 examinations"

    • "The validity of the criteria determined by the Pandey Committee for identification of EWS would prospectively for the future be subject to the final result of the petitions"

    The order came a day after the court had noted that "there is a situation, where in national interest, the counselling has to begin".

    Therefore, the court indicated that while the validity of the EWS quota, as determined by the expert Pandey committee is upheld for this year, it is subject to the final results of petitions.

    Expand
  2. 2. The OBC Quota Verdict

    Meanwhile, as per the court's order, the pre-existing 27 percent reservation for OBC was also upheld and settled, with no further hearing listed on the matter.

    The bench observed in its interim order:

    "The validity of the OBC reservation in the AIQ seats in NEET-PG and NEET-UG is upheld for reasons to follow. In the meantime, there is an urgent need to commence the process of counselling."
    Supreme Court
    Expand
  3. 3. The Pandey Committee & Its Suggestions

    The Pandey Committee, comprising of Former Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, ICSSR Member Secretary VK Malhotra, and Principal Economic Adviser to Centre Sanjeev Sanyal was constituted after the SC questioned the Centre on the validity of the EWS quota.

    The committee had suggested that the current gross annual family income limit for EWS of Rs 8 lakh or less may be retained.

    "Only those families whose annual income is up to Rs 8 lakh would be eligible to get the benefit of EWS reservation... EWS may, however exclude, irrespective of income, a person whose family has 5 acres of agricultural land and above. The residential asset criteria may altogether be removed," news agency PTI had quoted the panel as saying.

    On Friday, the order elucidated that the court "accepts the recommendation of the Pandey Committee, that the criteria which have been stipulated in OM 2019 be used for 2021-2022 in order to ensure that the admission process is not dislocated".
    Expand
  4. 4. The Case: What the Centre Had Said

    On 25 October, the apex court had directed the Centre to put the counselling for NEET-PG on hold, while it revisits the validity of OBC and EWS reservation in All India Quota.

    This came as the court was hearing a clutch of petitions by Neil Aurelio Nunes and others against the 27 percent quota for OBCs and 10 percent reservation for EWS in the AIQ seats for postgraduate medical courses.

    The apex court had questioned the Centre on the rationale behind adopting the benchmark of Rs 8 lakh annual income for granting reservations under the EWS.

    In response, the Centre on 31 December informed the Supreme Court in an affidavit that it had to accept the recommendation of the Pandey panel to retain the existing criteria of Rs 8 lakh ceiling.

    "The three-member expert panel has recommended that only those families whose current gross annual income is up to Rs 8 lakh should avail benefit of EWS reservation," the Centre apprised the court.

    The expert panel had stated further:

    "It is completely unadvisable and impractical to apply the new criteria (which are being recommended in this report) and change the goal post in the midst of the ongoing processes resulting in inevitable delay and avoidable complications. When the existing system is ongoing since 2019, no serious prejudice would be caused if it continues for this year as well."

    However, the panel recommended prospective changes to the criterion.

    (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.)

    Expand

The EWS Quota: What the SC Said

A two-judge bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna, which had reserved the orders on Thursday, stated:

  • "The criteria for the determination of the EWS notified by the office memorandum (OM) 2019 shall be used for identifying the EWS category for candidates who appeared for the NEET-PG 2021 and NEET-UG 2021 examinations"

  • "The validity of the criteria determined by the Pandey Committee for identification of EWS would prospectively for the future be subject to the final result of the petitions"

The order came a day after the court had noted that "there is a situation, where in national interest, the counselling has to begin".

Therefore, the court indicated that while the validity of the EWS quota, as determined by the expert Pandey committee is upheld for this year, it is subject to the final results of petitions.

ADVERTISEMENT

The OBC Quota Verdict

Meanwhile, as per the court's order, the pre-existing 27 percent reservation for OBC was also upheld and settled, with no further hearing listed on the matter.

The bench observed in its interim order:

"The validity of the OBC reservation in the AIQ seats in NEET-PG and NEET-UG is upheld for reasons to follow. In the meantime, there is an urgent need to commence the process of counselling."
Supreme Court

The Pandey Committee & Its Suggestions

The Pandey Committee, comprising of Former Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, ICSSR Member Secretary VK Malhotra, and Principal Economic Adviser to Centre Sanjeev Sanyal was constituted after the SC questioned the Centre on the validity of the EWS quota.

The committee had suggested that the current gross annual family income limit for EWS of Rs 8 lakh or less may be retained.

"Only those families whose annual income is up to Rs 8 lakh would be eligible to get the benefit of EWS reservation... EWS may, however exclude, irrespective of income, a person whose family has 5 acres of agricultural land and above. The residential asset criteria may altogether be removed," news agency PTI had quoted the panel as saying.

On Friday, the order elucidated that the court "accepts the recommendation of the Pandey Committee, that the criteria which have been stipulated in OM 2019 be used for 2021-2022 in order to ensure that the admission process is not dislocated".
ADVERTISEMENT

The Case: What the Centre Had Said

On 25 October, the apex court had directed the Centre to put the counselling for NEET-PG on hold, while it revisits the validity of OBC and EWS reservation in All India Quota.

This came as the court was hearing a clutch of petitions by Neil Aurelio Nunes and others against the 27 percent quota for OBCs and 10 percent reservation for EWS in the AIQ seats for postgraduate medical courses.

The apex court had questioned the Centre on the rationale behind adopting the benchmark of Rs 8 lakh annual income for granting reservations under the EWS.

In response, the Centre on 31 December informed the Supreme Court in an affidavit that it had to accept the recommendation of the Pandey panel to retain the existing criteria of Rs 8 lakh ceiling.

"The three-member expert panel has recommended that only those families whose current gross annual income is up to Rs 8 lakh should avail benefit of EWS reservation," the Centre apprised the court.

The expert panel had stated further:

"It is completely unadvisable and impractical to apply the new criteria (which are being recommended in this report) and change the goal post in the midst of the ongoing processes resulting in inevitable delay and avoidable complications. When the existing system is ongoing since 2019, no serious prejudice would be caused if it continues for this year as well."

However, the panel recommended prospective changes to the criterion.

(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.)

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Quint Insider
500
1800
5000

or more

PREMIUM

3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Insider Benefits
ADVERTISEMENT
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!
ADVERTISEMENT