NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday allowed resumption of NEET-PG medical counselling process for admissions to 2021-22 academic session with 27% OBC and 10% economically weaker sections (EWS) quota, as per existing criteria.
The apex court upheld the constitutional validity of the quotas for the NEET-UG and NEET-PG but said it would adjudicate the rationale of Rs 8 lakh income criteria for EWS category in March-April this year.
During the observation, the SC bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna said, “The validity of OBC reservation in NEET-UG and NEET-PG is upheld.” There is an urgent need to commence the process of counselling, it added.
The bench said, “We accept the recommendations of the (Ajay Bhushan) Pandey Committee that the EWS criteria notified in 2019 should be used for admissions to NEET-PG for the academic session 2021-22.”
The counselling for NEET-UG and NEET-PG shall be conducted as per the government notification of July 29, 2021 stipulating 27% OBC and 10% EWS quotas in the All India Quota medical seats, the top court said.
SC said the criteria for determination of EWS category, as notified in January 2019, shall be used for used for identifying candidates who had appeared for NEET-UG and NEET-PG for academic session 2021-22.
The validity of the EWS criteria, determined by the Pandey Committee, would prospectively for the future be subject to the final result of the petitions in the court challenging the criteria for such identification, the SC said. It added that it would hear the petitions in 3rd week of March.
The Centre had earlier promised that EWS criteria would be tweaked from next year as per recommendation of Ajay Bhushan Pandey committee.
The Centre had told the apex court on Wednesday that it would not accept a position whereby those falling in the OBC or the EWS category, whether before or after the exercise of revisiting the criterion of Rs 8 lakh annual income, are deprived of something that is legitimately due to them.
The NEET-PG candidates, who have challenged a July 29, 2021 notification for the implementation of the OBC and the EWS quotas from the 2021-22 academic year, opposed the government’s justification of applying the Rs 8 lakh income criterion, saying no study has been conducted on it.
Large-scale protests were held by resident doctors of various hospitals under the banner of the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) in Delhi and other parts of the country over the delay in the NEET-PG counselling, which has been postponed due to the pendency of the case and the Centre deciding to revisit the criterion for the determination of the EWS quota.