Centre to revisit income criteria for EWS in NEET-PG

Centre to revisit Rs 8 lakh income criteria for EWS in NEET-PG All India Quota, SC told

Counselling for PG courses to remain suspended

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo

The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it has decided to review Rs eight lakh annual income criterion for economically weaker sections (EWS) within four weeks.

“I have instruction to say that the government has decide to revisit the criteria. We will decide it within four weeks,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench presided over by Justice D Y Chandrachud.

He said that the counselling for NEET-PG courses won't take place until then.

The bench suggested that Centre may apply for the reservation next year, as the academic session was getting delayed.

Read | Accommodation needed for inclusive education: SC

To this, Mehta submitted that he will need to take instructions on that.

The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Vikram Nath, said that EWS reservation is progressive and pragmatic reservation, and the only question is whether it should be horizontal or vertical.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing the petitioners, submitted that the question is whether Rs 70,000 income per month can be called EWS.

The court put the matter for consideration in January.

On October 25, the court had directed the Centre to put on hold counselling for NEET-PG until it decided the validity of OBC and EWS reservation in All India Quota (AIQ).

On October 21, the court had questioned the Union government over adopting similar criteria of OBC creamy layers of Rs eight lakh annual income for granting reservations under the Economic Weaker Section, though it suffered no social and educational backwardness.

"You just cannot pull out eight lakh from thin air. You are making unequal equal by applying the Rs eight lakh limit,” it had said.

In an affidavit, the Centre had earlier defended its criterion saying it was finalised after considering diverse economic factors in different states.

As many as 50 per cent seats in MS and MD courses in medical colleges across the country are filled through All India Quota from the candidates selected through NEET.

Petitioners, Neil Aurelio Nunes and others challenged the Centre's notification of July 29 to implement OBC, and EWS reservation in NEET-All India Quota from current academic session in Post Graduate courses.

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