The Supreme Court will resume the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) PG hearing against the 10 per cent reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category in government institutes. Filed by several NEET PG aspirants last year, the plea challenges the EWS reservation in the All India Quota (AIQ) for the NEET PG counselling. The reservation states Rs 8 lakh as the eligibility criteria to avail the quota.
The petitioners have said admissions via the EWS quota will be a disadvantage for meritorious students. The top court had earlier asked the government to put forth their explanation about the EWS category quota. A three-member panel was set up by the government which had argued that most of the candidates who availed of the EWS quota were under the salary bracket of Rs 5 lakh (family income). This data was collated from UPSC and JEE exams.
The government had also told SC that according to the panel, family income is a “feasible criterion” for defining EWS quota. In the current situation, a threshold of Rs 8 lakh of annual family income seems reasonable for determining EWS. Further, in its affidavit, filed in a matter related to admissions for NEET-PG last year, the centre said the panel recommended that “only those families whose annual income is up to Rs 8 lakh would be eligible to get the benefit of the EWS reservation.”
The petitioners has also claimed that no research was done to keep Rs 8 lakh as income criteria to avail of the reservation. The NEET PG quota matter has been pending since last year and is yet to be resolved. While the matter was heard prior to the NEET PG 2021 counselling, there was no concrete decision on the same. SC had asked to begin the NEET PG 2021 counselling stating “national interest.”
NEET PG aspirants, who were left waiting for the counselling process to begin last year, held protests. The apex court upheld the constitutional validity of the reservation for the OBC and EWS categories in the NEET PG counselling and asked the commence the counselling process. The matter will now be heard on August 2.