Supreme Court resumes National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) PG hearing against the 10 percent reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS) category in government agencies. Filed last year by several NEET PG aspirants, the plea challenges the EWS reservation in the All India Quota (AIQ) for the NEET PG counselling. The reservation lists Rs 8 lakh as the eligibility criteria for the quota.
Petitioners have indicated that admission through the EWS quota will be a disadvantage for deserving students. The Supreme Court had previously asked the government for their explanation about the EWS category quota. A three-member panel was set up by the government who argued that most of the candidates who took advantage of the EWS quota were below the salary scale of Rs 5 lakh (family income). This data was collected from UPSC and JEE exams.
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The government had also told SC that according to the panel, household income is a “feasible criterion” for defining EWS quotas. In the current situation, a threshold of Rs 8 lakh in annual household income seems reasonable for determining EWS. Furthermore, the center said in its affidavit filed in a case regarding admissions for NEET-PG last year that the panel recommended that “only those families with annual incomes up to Rs 8 lakh should be eligible for the benefit of the EWS reservation.”
The petitioners have also claimed that no research has been done to keep Rs 8 lakh as an income criterion to be able to use the reservation. The quota issue for NEET PG has been pending since last year and has yet to be resolved. Although the case was heard ahead of the NEET PG 2021 counselling, there was no concrete decision on it. SC had asked to start NEET PG 2021 counseling citing ‘national interest’.
NEET PG aspirants, who had to wait for the counseling process to begin last year, held protests. The highest court confirmed the constitutional validity of the reservation for the OBC and EWS categories in the NEET PG counseling and asked to start the counseling process. The case will now be heard on August 2.
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