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SC to hear batch of pleas challenging OBC, EWS quota in NEET-PG today – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will on Tuesday hear a batch of pleas challenging the Centre and Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) July 29 notice providing 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 per cent for EWS category in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) admissions for medical courses.

NEET PG counselling for 50 per cent AIQ seats was scheduled to begin from October 25, 2021. However, MCC had postponed the counselling dates.

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A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath, and BV Nagarathna was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the government has detailed discussion with senior officials of the department and those who have framed the notification.
The apex court was hearing a batch of pleas challenging the Centre and MCC July 29 notice providing 27 per cent reservation for OBC and 10 per cent for EWS category in the NEET admissions for medical courses

In its affidavit, the Centre has justified its decision to set the limit of Rs 8 lakh annual income fixed for determining the EWS category for reservation in NEET admissions for medical courses.

The affidavit filed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said that the principle of fixing the amount is rational and in keeping with Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Constitution.

It had said that the exercise conducted to determine the creamy layer for OBC reservation would be equally applicable for the determination of EWS category since the fundamental premise is that if a person/his family have a substantial economic standing, he/she may not require the benefits of reservation at the cost of others.

Major Gen (retd) SR Sinho commission was constituted by the UPA government in 2010 and it recommended welfare measures for the EWS category.

The ministry further said that the criteria for the determination of the EWS category were derived after due deliberation with all the concerned stakeholders.

The Centre said that even before the Office Memorandum dated January 17, 2019, was in existence in the context of identification of Economically Backward Classes (EBC), the Government had set up the Major General Sinho Commission in the year 2005.

It said that this Commission had by its report of July 2010, arrived at various conclusions including the criteria to identify ‘creamy layer’ amongst OBC’s could well serve as a basis to decide the upper limit or as a criterion for identifying EBC families amongst the General Category as well.

The ministry submitted that the determination of the EWS category in terms of the Office Memorandum dated January 17, 2019, is not over inclusive and need not be interfered with.

On October 21, the top court had asked the Centre whether it would like to revisit the limit of rupees eight lakh annual income, fixed for determining the EWS category for reservation in NEET admissions for medical courses.

The top court had clarified that it is not embarking into the policy domain but is only trying to ascertain whether constitutional principles have adhered or not.

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